By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

With winter weather at its most aggressive about now, it’s hard not to notice all the idlers in our midst. They’re idling at fast food restaurants, outside offices and schools. You find a business, there’s a car idling outside. Some people take their right to idle pretty seriously. Police cruisers sometimes idle while they lie in wait and will get no argument from me. Ditto crossing guards, for different reasons.

I am not suggesting that we regular folks suffer frozen feet nobly in the name of curbing carbon emissions. I’m all for necessary feet-saving measures. But I have noticed that my car stays warm for a little while after I’ve been driving it. You notice that? Do I really need to idle while my teenager tarries at the bookstore checkout? Reaallly? No, I don’t. Do I need to warm up in the driveway before heading to an appointment? Not anymore. Experts say modern engines do just fine with a cold start. Do I need to keep the car especially toasty, while someone runs into the bakery for bread? No — and neither did the woman I noticed last week in a big hulking truck that idled while someone else got the bread. Humpff!

OK, I agree, this is a little thing, in the large scheme of things. But did you know that two minutes of idling is the equivalent of driving one mile, according to the Consumer Energy Center ?

It might be worth thinking about. A hundred million Americans idling less — and thinking more. It could help.

And while you’re at it, check those tires to make sure they’re properly inflated.

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