One day, when I was patiently waiting at my daughter’s school to fetch her, I saw there were many parents waiting inside their vehicles with the engine running and air-con blustering to escape from the sweltering afternoon. It prompted me to ask, “is idling a car that big a problem”? We tend to leave our vehicle idling for the reasons of,
- Waiting someone
- Doing quick errand
- Double park
- Warming up the car
An operating vehicle emits a range of gases, primary carbon dioxide CO2, that contribute to global warming. Every litre of fuel burned will produce 2.34 kg of CO2 for petrol and 2.63 kg of CO2 for diesel. Every time we start the vehicle, we are contributing to global warming. Thing gets worse when vehicle is idling because we will get zero mileage per litre of petrol.
One hour of idling will burn a liter of petrol seems to be a widely accepted average number. Keep in mind that this number could double when we have a bigger vehicle, like an eight-cylinder 4-wheel drive truck.
So, what will we get by reducing 5 minutes of idling time per day per vehicle? In one year, we could
- Reduce 71.2 kg of CO2 emission
- Save 30.4 litres of petrol
- Save RM57.8 (RM1.90 per liter for RON95 petrol)
Wait! How would these small numbers make any significant impact to the world?
Lets see from a broader aspect. By July of 2011, Malaysia has more than 11.1 millions of registered vehicles, excluding motorcycles, on the road. The impacts of reducing five minutes of idling time per day for all Malaysian drivers would be,
- Reduce 790 million kg of CO2
- Save 338.7 million liters of petrol
- Save RM643.6 million
Now, it looks significant!
Yearly, it takes 90,000 to 180,000 hectares of forest, depending of species, to absorb 790 million kg of CO2. This is about the size of one to two Singapore. This also helps our Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak to be 1% closer to his goal of reducing 40% of the nation’s CO2 emission by the year 2020.
Let's start today to contribute your part to save the Mother Earth by reducing 5 minutes of idling time every day.