Waiting for someone and think it’s ok to leave the car running, especially in this heat? Think again. The City of Medford’s Energy Committee has just launched a campaign to educate residents about the dangers, myths, and costs of letting your engine idle. The Energy Committee cites several compelling facts about idling that they hope will convince drivers to be more conscious of turning their engines off while waiting.
1. Vehicle emissions, including carbon monoxide and particulates, contribute to a number of health issues such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, heart disease, respiratory infections and cancer.
2. Idling wastes gas and money. Idling just 10 minutes a day would cost over $300 a year based on current gas prices and can add several hundred dollars per year to maintenance costs because of increased wear and tear.
3. It’s illegal to idle your car for more than 5 minutes in Massachusetts (MGL Chapter 90, Section 16A). The law applies to gasoline and diesel powered vehicles.
“Whether you are behind the wheel of a school bus, a delivery truck, an SUV or a car, you should turn off the engine as soon as you pull into a driveway or parking lot,” said Medford Mayor Michael McGlynn. “Excessive engine idling needlessly exposes our children and all Medford residents to air pollution that can lead to serious health problems over time.”
Because children, whose lungs are still developing, are particularly at risk for health problems, the Energy Committee began the campaign in early June by sending a flyer home with each child in the public schools. Pound for pound, children breathe 50% more air than adults do.
“This is why the Energy Committee — in partnership with the city and the schools — is serious about letting drivers know how important it is to turn off their engines,” said Fred Laskey, Chair of the Energy Committee.
- Submitted by Alicia Hunt, Medford Director of Energy and Environment