Mayor Verner Issues Order To Curb Idling Vehicles

SPOKANE — Gas prices are heading up around Spokane again and partially because of this Spokane Mayor Mary Verner is putting the brakes on the idling of city vehicles in the hopes of saving money and the environment.

With gas prices the highest they’ve been since last June any gas saving measure will save the city money and cutting down on vehicle exhaust is good for the environment..       

The city is following other cities and major companies who are already shutting down their rigs when they don’t need them.

All across the community you’ll find UPS drivers running to make deliveries but the only time their trucks are running is when they’re rolling down the road as UPS has a strict policy for idling as little as possible.

Truck driver Mike Gibbs says that big rigs have computers that monitor how long trucks idle everyday.

“The purpose is to turn off tractor as much as possible, saves on fuel, save on exhaust,” Gibbs said.

That’s the idea behind an executive order from Spokane’s mayor that says city cars and trucks only warm up for 30 seconds to one minute when they start. The order says diesel trucks can’t idle more than five minutes while in the field and gasoline cars must shut down after one minute of idling.

City spokesperson Marlene Feist says the amount of money the policy will save the city in fuel costs is “hard to quantify”, adding that city leaders know “it’s the right thing to do.”

Idling for 10 minutes will only burn about 5 to 10 cents worth of gas but exhaust fumes pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which is the principle greenhouse gas linked to climate change.

There are a lot of myths about idling like for example how long should you warm up your car on a cold day?

“Probably 10 minutes, that’s how long i warm mine up,” Alexandra Martin said.

The answer is only 30 seconds as tests show that’s as long as you need to circulate engine oil before driving off.

What wastes more gas, idling or turning your car on or off?

“Probably to turn car on and off,” Fay Bertleson said.

“I think save gas by turning it off personally,” Jon Wyckoff said.

Wyckoff is right; you save money and fuel by turning your car off if you will be idling for more than a couple minutes.

City police cars, fire trucks and other city vehicles that need to be running to operate equipment are not included in the new policy.