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Let's stop the idling

marciadottin, marciadottin@nationnews.com

Added 27 November 2012

While THE Prime Minister is correct when he says we must conserve energy and reduce electricity usage to cut our $800 million oil bill, and make every attempt to go to solar energy as soon as possible, he has left out one massive source of oil waste in this country – idling of our vehicles. Everywhere I go – the school car park, the supermarket car park, at businesses in town and in the country – I see people sitting inside cars and vans, enjoying the comfort of A/C by idling their vehicles. I like A/C as well as the next person, but I make it a habit not to idle my car for the following reasons: Idling for ten minutes uses .026 gallons (or one tenth litre) of gasoline. If you idle your car for a total of 60 minutes a day (that’s ten minutes at each of every six stops you make in a day) that would burn almost .6 litres of gas. Now, .6 doesn’t sound like much, until you multiply it by the number of cars on the road. Let’s say 20 000 people in Barbados are foolishly idling their cars for 60 minutes per day. That would add up to 12 000 litres wasted a day or 4 380 000 litres of gasoline per year (assuming they idle every day of the year). Idling while waiting is so prevalent in Barbados that I would venture there are many more than 20 000 guilty vehicle operators.   I say “guilty” because it really is a “crime” – and not only against the nation’s pocketbook of foreign reserves. Idling for 60 minutes creates nine pounds of CO2, which contributes to greenhouse gases and global warming (climate change). Trees can make a difference, though. Unfortunately it takes a tree all day to absorb .06 pounds of CO2.   So it would take 150 to absorb all the CO2 you create by idling your car today for 60 minutes. By reducing your car fuel bill in any way (you can drive a car with a smaller engine, don’t idle, carpool with friends and family, and take public transportation, bicycle or walk more), you will not only assist the global warming problem, but will reduce the amount of oil that needs to be purchased from overseas, thus bringing our national oil bill down, not to mention you would also be putting some money back into your own pocket!  

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