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Idling for 3 minutes can result in hefty fines

Engine idling may soon be banned following the ordinance passed by the City Council on first reading last Tuesday.

Based on the proposed Anti-Idling Ordinance of Davao City, motor vehicle exhaust is one of the single largest sources of pollution in the city.

“Motor vehicle engine idling pollutes the atmosphere, affects the health of the people, destroys the environment, and wastes fuel,” it added.

Engine idling is when you are running your engine while remaining stationary. The proposed ordinance suggested that vehicle owners should turn off their engines if they are parked or motionless for more than three minutes.

But there are exemptions to the ordinance. For instance, if the vehicle is caught in a traffic jam, when the motor vehicle is stopping in front of a traffic light, or at the order of the law enforcement official.

Emergency and law enforcement vehicles are also exempted. These include police, fire, ambulance, public safety, and military vehicles, among others.

Drivers who need to check a fault in the engine or any part of the vehicle are also exempted from paying the fine. Meanwhile, security personnel of private and armored vehicles who are performing official functions during pick up and delivery are also exempted from the law.

Violation carries a fine of P1,000 for the first offense; P3,000 for the second offense; and P5,000 for the third offense.

The proposal was referred to the committees on transportation and communications, health, peace and public safety, and rules, privileges, laws last Tuesday during the regular session.

Idling engines contribute to the carbon emissions in the environment. Estimates show that 2.64 kilograms of CO2 are released in the air for every liter of diesel fuel. In terms of cost, avoiding this bad habit can save the motorist about $70 (P3,500) on gas each year at the minimum, according to the non-profit, Environmental Defense Fund.

Modern vehicles now are equipped to handle the stress of turning the engine and starting it again within a short period of time. In fact, some vehicles have stop-start features, which automatically turn off the engine after one minute of idling.

Meanwhile, stopping the engine is also safer for the car as idling can leave residue and oil contamination, which can damage the engine or increase fuel consumption when the spark plugs become dirty.

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