Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Why switching off engine at traffic signals makes sense

Why switching off engine at traffic signals makes sense

The Hindu

# Idling vehicle engine emits more pollutants than a running one
# Fuel efficiency can be increased by 8 to 11 per cent if engine is switched off

Bangalore: An idling vehicle engine can emit more pollutants such as carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons into the air than a running engine.

And, switching off the engine while waiting at a traffic signal may improve your vehicle's fuel efficiency by a significant 8 to 11 per cent depending on the vehicle type.

These were among the facts revealed by experts at a recent interaction organised by the Indian Institute of Science and Regional Transport Office, Bangalore North.

Scientists and officials answered a number of questions from citizens and listened to their suggestions.

Potential carcinogens

It makes sense to switch off engine if the wait is going to be close to one minute, say experts.

This is because automobile emissions contain about 300 chemicals, close to a 100 being potential carcinogens. Savings on fuel is a bonus.

With over 24 lakh registered vehicles and five to 600 additional ones registered every week, preventing air pollution requires intervention at all levels, according to Transport Department officials. Besides punitive action against owners of vehicles with more than the permissible level of emissions, driving licence seekers should be educated on the merits of controlling vehicle emissions. A regularly overhauled engine and periodical lubricant changes also add to mileage and vehicle longevity.

According to some citizens, including retired transport officials, poor engine design, adulterated fuel and lubricants and lack of regular vehicle servicing, could be the cause for high air pollution in Bangalore. Another factor is its geographical location with no sea breeze to clear the air and dilute the emissions.

Officials spoke on certain shortcomings in the laws related to vehicle emissions such as different checking norms for cars and two-wheelers and the inability to frequently check all vehicles and pull up offenders.

Suggestions from citizens to arrest pollution included use of alternative fuels such as CNG, more facilities for cyclists and walkers and phasing out of older vehicles.


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