Not-So-Idle Thoughts About Westchester's New No-Idling Law
How a cop will know whether your car has been idling for three minutes is a mystery.
A more important mystery, though, is: why three minutes? The Consumer Energy Center recommends that you turn off your ar if you're going to be idling for more than 10 seconds (or 30 seconds, depending on which sentence on this page you prefer). Here's the reasoning:
For every two minutes a car is idling, it uses about the same amount of fuel it takes to go about one mile. Research indicates that the average person idles their car five to 10 minutes a day. People usually idle their cars more in the winter than in the summer. But even in winter, you don't need to let your car sit and idle for five minutes to "warm it up" when 30 seconds will do just fine.
But you're not going anywhere. Idling gets ZERO miles per gallon.The recommendation is: If you are going to be parked for more than 30 seconds, turn off the engine. Ten seconds of idling can use more fuel than turning off the engine and restarting it.
A columnist for Slate magazine agrees -- if you're going to be idling for more than 10 seconds, turn off your car.
I'm glad Westchester County is passing the new idling law. But it could have been a bit tougher, no?