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#1 2009-05-07 11:21:07

Registered: 2008-10-07
Posts: 15

Vehicles left idling in Austin.

In my travels around town by bike, as opposed to my travels around town by car, I notice a large number of vehicles left idling. These are often, though certainly not always, vehicles belonging to public agencies and maintenance services. I think I notice this more on my bike because the bike is silent. Thus one rides up and hears what appears to be a parked car is in fact an idling car. Worse yet is an idling diesel truck. Newsflash to all and sundry: there is no longer any technical reason to leave a diesel powered truck idling for minutes on end. Certainly the diesel powered pickups that became so popular over the last twenty years start and stop as easily as my four cylinder car. 
      My guess is that vehicles are left idling out of laziness; a desire for a nice air conditioned "phone booth" for its operator, as well as out of old habbits dying hard, i.e; the belief that the engine might not restart if it were to be shut off, or the belief that it is necessary to idle the engine to keep the battery charged so that a two way radio inside can be left on, etc. All of these reasons seem weak at best, to me, and even if occaisionly necessary for a certain vehicle they seem to be overused a lot.  The worst, to my mind, is witnessing ordinary civilians doing so just because they can't stand to live in the air we are dealing with. If you can't sit in your car and make a phone call or wait on your children after school, etc, without idling your car there is something wrong and it is time to do something about it. 
      I wonder if there is any city, state, or other agency or utility company policy regarding their vehicles idling constantly while their workmen are out of their trucks?  There is a state law against excessive idling but I've never heard of it being enforced. Anyone know anything about this subject?


#2 2010-01-23 00:34:50

Registered: 2010-01-18
Posts: 166

Re: Vehicles left idling in Austin.

I know, it's sad, I see it a lot. It's a habit that people do unconsciously. "Oh what's a few cents in gas?" is the response. Not many people care about conversing fuel unless it gets above $4/gal, and even then, that's still too cheap for most to really care. I remember at my old job, during lunch a lot of guys would just sit in the car, with the engine on for the whole half hour, listening to music. I've never had my battery die from 30 minutes on my stereo.

Last edited by rich00 (2010-01-23 00:36:43)


#3 2010-01-26 18:12:01

Registered: 2008-06-01
Posts: 551

Re: Vehicles left idling in Austin.

JW wrote:

IWorse yet is an idling diesel truck. Newsflash to all and sundry: there is no longer any technical reason to leave a diesel powered truck idling for minutes on end.

That's not quite true.  What if the cargo is refrigerated, and the power comes from the engine?  Or suppose it's a concrete truck, and the concrete is kept agitated by the truck's engine?

Diesel isn't cheap, and the operators of large commercial trucks are aware of just how large a percentage of their budget goes to fuel.  I doubt they do much idling without a good reason.  Of course, what you said may be spot-on for diesel consumer-level trucks -- but the commercial operators, I'll bet they're keenly aware of how much it costs, and don't do it without a good reason.


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