New rule bans idling for City of Charlottetown vehicles

·2 min read
The anti-idling policy will reduce emissions connected to staff and city council members. The only exemption is fire, police or emergency service vehicles while participating in an emergency.  (Laura Meader/CBC - image credit)
The anti-idling policy will reduce emissions connected to staff and city council members. The only exemption is fire, police or emergency service vehicles while participating in an emergency. (Laura Meader/CBC - image credit)

Charlottetown city staff and elected officials are being told to put the brakes on unnecessary idling of vehicles.

The city recently passed an anti-idling policy that will apply to all vehicles used for City operations, from cars to heavy equipment vehicles.

The new rules mean idling for longer than one minute – or three minutes in colder weather – will be prohibited.

Ramona Doyle, the city's manager of environment and sustainability, said the hope is to reduce emissions associated with idling.

"There are a lot of scenarios where idling happens where it really isn't necessary," she said, such as letting a city vehicle run while waiting to pick up staff members or supplies.

The city should model good behaviour, Doyle noted.

Environmental benefits better understood

The concept of wasteful idling is becoming better understood and more widely accepted, thanks to advancements such as vehicles that automatically stop running at stop signs or stop lights, Doyle said.

Laura Meader/CBC
Laura Meader/CBC

"We continue to see messaging about the important impact of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions."

In P.E.I., Doyle said, transportation is the largest contributor of those emissions.

"We really need to dig into that transportation sector," she said.

A habit we need to think about more

Mitchell Tweel is the chair of city council's environment and sustainability committee.

He says the anti-idling policy should make a difference financially and environmentally over time.

It's about "changing the mindset," he said.

Monitoring via GPS

The city will be able to monitor idling time thanks to GPS sytems that are installed on all city vehicles, Doyle said.

Over time, she said, that will help determine whether the policy, "and the approach that we take to enforce it," does in fact lead to reduction in idling.

It's also hoped it will lead to a reduction in fuel costs.

Last year, the city used almost 22,000 gigajoules of fuel, costing about $651,000 dollars.

One gigajoule equals about 26 litres. "If we're able to make a slight reduction in that, that does make a big difference," said Doyle.

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