The true environmental cost of idling your engine
Idling at the school gate with the engine running for just ten minutes a day can produce enough exhaust fumes in a year to fill two Jumbo Jets.
Research by the Clickmechanic website found that even idling for five minutes per school day will produce 760m³ of exhaust a year, equivalent to over 23 shipping containers. Leaving the engine to idle for one minute can produce enough exhaust fumes to fill up to 150 balloons.
And for those drivers who are guilty of idling at other locations as well, totalling around 20 minutes of idling on every school day, they would produce an additional 3,040m³ of emissions (overfilling an Olympic-sized swimming pool) – not including any idling at weekends or holidays.
By simply switching off the engine while waiting, drivers can dramatically reduce the level of pollution and the associated health risks for those who breathe it.
“Switching off your engine while you wait at school is a small change which will have a huge impact on our carbon footprint,” Andrew Jervis, the co-founder of ClickMechanic, said. “Leaving an engine to idle wastes fuel, costs money and adds to pollution. It also contributes to the potentially harmful emissions around schools and can affect both yourself within the car and those around. By putting a stop to this habit, drivers will be taking a step closer to cleaner, safer air.”
Drivers caught idling their engine now also face the prospect of a £20 on-the-spot fine (£80 in Central London), following a crackdown by councils across the UK.