On the avoidance of idleness. In automobile engines that is.

Maura McDermott, Communications Director for the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture,  recently posted a PDF of an article by Kerr Center intern Erica Hellen to the Oklahoma Sustainability discussion listserv.  Idle Impacts  To which I say — Bravo bravo!

The bottom line of her research is clear — if you will be stopped for more than ten seconds, everyone is ahead (you, the ecology, and your vehicle) if you turn off the vehicle and restart it when you are ready to go.

Exceptions include being in traffic that may resume at any moment; operating functional features of a vehicle (e.g. hydraulics on a tractor or safety lights for service vehicles); emergency situations; and extreme low or high temperatures.

She notes that idling consumes about 2/10ths gallon gas per minute. So a five minute wait at a drive-up window could cost you a whole gallon of gas. And what’s the price of gas these day? Another way of looking at this is that idling costs TWELVE gallons of gas per hour.

Think about this when tempted to patronize one of the many omnipresent Drive Up Windows.

That solution is simple — DON’T! Park your car at the CREDIT UNION, get out, walk inside, and do business face to face with the nice smiling teller instead of attempting to communicate through bullet-proof glass and a tinny loud speaker. Your doctor approves of the motion I am sure, mine does.  I know this is quite the concept in this modern rush rush age, but I promise you, it is more humanistic.This drive-up window evasion includes fast food restaurants.

Besides the idling in the drive up window issue, well, there’s lots of reasons to not go to national fast food restaurants.  I don’t have a habit of patonizing national fast food restaurants, but I sometimes stop at Tim’s at NW 50th and McArthur, so now I just park and go inside.

When I decided to take  this step, which amazingly was not recommended in my permaculture design (a significant omission I must say). . .  I argued with myself againstit.  I said, “Bobby Max” — I always call myself Bobby Max when I argue with myself — ” you are a busy man. You have lots to do. You don’t have time to park your car and then go into the bank.”

I decided that was an argument rooted in pride and egotism and that yielding to it was bad for my development as a real human person.

Then, my driver’s side window broke (well, the mechanism that rolls it up and down broke).  I decided this was too-convenient-a-happening-to-not-interpret-as a Sign — so I did not get it fixed.  All the other windows roll down, that gives me plenty of ventilation  (my 1995 Geo Metro doesn’t have a working AC).

I don’t always trust myself, lol, so sometimes I just structure the situations of my life so that it is easier to do the right thing than it is to do the wrong thing.Now that I have pretty firmly developed the habit of not using drive up windows, I may get the window fixed.  But I am not in a hurry about that.

Hmmm. . . what happens if I am stopped by a police officer? Well, I don’t know because I am not in the habit of being stopped by police officers as I boringly habitually obey all traffic laws.  That way I don’t pay any traffic fines, which I can’t afford anyway.

This entry was posted in Climate Instability, Oklahoma Living, Peak Oil and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to On the avoidance of idleness. In automobile engines that is.

  1. davidglover says:

    Bob, yes I agree we should not idle, but the 2/10 of a gallon a minute claim is widely inaccurate, you may want to edit. Her sources and others suggest .4 to 1 gallon an hour not every 5 minutes so the math is off by a factor of 12 to 30. her site http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/myths/idling.html and one I found http://www.makealeap.org/idling_myth

Leave a Reply