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Recent news item: Jasper bans idling

No Person shall cause or permit Idling in the Town.

That’s the message in a bylaw recently approved by this Alberta mountain town.

A peek through town council minutes shows it all started with a local resident who gathered some 540 names on a petition calling for a ban on idling.

So if you live in Jasper, it’s now uncool, and unlawful, to let you car idle while stationary unless it’s “working”.

“Working” includes a car waiting at a stop light, a commercial vehicle running its engine to keep cargo warm or cold or an emergency vehicle responding to an emergency.

But does it make sense for Jasperites, or any of us, to shut ‘er down – especially in the winter?

Well, we know the answer to that rhetorical question, don’t we? But do you know the reasons why? A few numbers:

  • 10 - the time, in seconds, after which you begin saving fuel by stopping and starting your engine, as opposed to letting it idle.
  • 3.5– the amount of fuel, in litres, an average engine burns in an hour.
  • 0 – the value of letting you car “warm up” by idling. Once your oil has circulated and your windshield is clear, you’re good to go.

So, at current fuel prices, the 10 minutes you let your car idle while you’re in the drive-thru line or letting your car “warm up” will cost you about 60 cents. Add that up over a year’s worth of driving and we’re talking about two hundred bucks.

Habits are hard to break and some people believe bylaws will provide the disincentive needed to change behaviour. But maybe you want to effect change at home, work or school.

Start changing idling behaviours in your community. 

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