Putting the Brakes on Vehicle Idling

Electric vehicles are making quite the spark at this year's auto show. These environmentally friendly vehicles reduce air pollution and help customers save on gas. However, ComEd wants customers to know there are additional ways they can reduce vehicle emissions, and save money now before the electric cars are widely available.

Avoiding vehicle idling is a simple way to save money at the pump and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, idling for more than 10 seconds wastes more gas than stopping and restarting the engine. In addition, 10 minutes of idling uses as much fuel as traveling five miles and it releases a pound of carbon.

Vehicle idling is a common occurrence, especially during the winter as customers try to warm up their vehicle before driving off. However, idling is not an effective or environmentally friendly way to warm up a vehicle, even in the cold weather.

"Vehicle idling wastes fuel, and excessive idling can actually damage an engine's components," said George Malek, ComEd Energy Doctor. "Don't rev the engine; let your car sit for just 30 seconds and then ease into driving. This also is the best way to get your vehicle's heating system to deliver warmer air faster."

ComEd also is springing into action by reducing idling among its fleet of 3,100 vehicles. If vehicle idling were reduced by one hour per day among ComEd's vehicle fleet, the company could reduce an estimated 4.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year and save $724,000 in fuel costs. ComEd is further reducing greenhouse gas emissions by utilizing alternative fuel vehicles such as hybrids and soy-based biodiesels in its fleet. ComEd was among the first utilities in the country to add hybrid bucket trucks to its fleet. The hybrid truck uses a battery instead of the engine to operate the bucket, eliminating idling time.

ComEd encourages customers to keep these three simple steps in mind to help avoid vehicle idling:

Ease into drive to warm the engine – With today's electronic engines, vehicles do not require idling to warm up. The best way to warm the engine is to ease into drive and avoid excessive engine revving. This is also the best way to get the vehicle's heating system to deliver warmer air faster (or cooler air during the warmer months).

Turn off the engine if you are sitting for more than 10 seconds – Restarting a vehicle does not burn more fuel than leaving it idling. In fact, idling for 10 seconds wastes more gas than restarting the engine. So turn off the engine while sitting in drive-through lines to save money and energy.

Help the environment – By a simple turn of the key, you can keep the air cleaner, save money and fuel. Idling vehicles emit pollutants that create unhealthy smog and soot, and these pollutants have been linked to serious human illnesses, including asthma, heart disease, chronic bronchitis, and cancer. Avoid vehicle idling and help do your part to cut down on hazardous pollution in your community.

Avoiding vehicle idling is the latest in ComEd's 12 Ways to Green campaign, which aims to educate customers about ways to save money and reduce their carbon footprint. This campaign also supports Exelon 2020, an aggressive environmental strategy by ComEd's parent company, Exelon, to reduce, offset, or displace more than 15 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year by 2020.

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