Canadians could save close to 1.8 million litres of fuel every day, or the equivalent of 4,500 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, by reducing vehicle idling time by just five minutes a day.
According to the Federal Office of Energy Efficiency, Canadians currently idle for an average or five to 10 minutes a day while getting coffee, dropping their kids off at school, warming the engine on a cool day, and carrying out other chores. Commercial drivers can idle for far longer as they make deliveries, and keep warm at work sites.
New research also shows that idling is not good for your engine. You’re better of stopping and restarting then letting your engine idle. Research also shows that the best way to warm up an engine in the winter is to drive, rather than to idle in your driveway. Block heaters are the most effective way to warm an engine, and can improve your fuel efficiency by 10 to 20 per cent.
Whistler recently updated it bylaw on idling, which applied mainly to commercial vehicles and buses. At the Nov. 5 council meeting a new bylaw was passed that expands idling time limits to all vehicles and reduces idling time from five minutes to three minutes.
Starting this week, new signs will be posted in public areas to inform people of the bylaw and bylaw workers will be giving drivers warnings at idling spots like the taxi loop, bus loop, schools and day lots. There will also be a letter to commercial businesses to advise them of the new rule.
Fines are $65 if paid in the first 30 days, after which point they will go up to $130.
Three minutes was set as the idling limit because that is the length of time it takes buses to recharge their air brakes. That time limit will be shortened as truck technology improves.
“I know the new (municipal) buses will be able to charge their brakes in about a minute, compared to our buses which are about 10 years old. When we get those buses we’ll shorten the idling time to a minute,” said Emma DalSanto, traffic demand management coordinator for the municipality.
Although the municipality is only allowed to put signs in public areas, DalSanto says the signs will be available to businesses, strata management companies and other property owners that want to put the signs on their property. The schools have already requested the signs.
RMOW announces annual, six-month bus passes
The Resort Municipality of Whistler is offering discounted six month and 12-month bus passes to residents, which can be purchased at municipal hall.
The six-month pass will retail for $255, or roughly one month free when you consider that monthly passes are $50. Student passes are $180.
The 12-month pass will retail for $450, which is three free months for a savings of 25 per cent. Student passes are $315.
Canadians can now claim their bus pass costs on their taxes, so keep your receipt.