About a year ago the GUARDIAN caused a stir among coppers when we noted patrol cars left idling for long periods of time at convenience stores and even at dinner for an hour at a time.
Comments on the post, POLICE PROWLERS GUZZLE GAS prompted a flurry of defenses for the idle arguments.
Top Cop Mike Masterson was not happy to hear cars were parked and left running with the doors locked–all it takes is a whack on the window for access to guns, computers, radios, and the car itself.
Fast forward a year later and the city has hired a “Fleet Services Manager” in the person of Craig Croner whose job it is to save gas, negotiate vehicle purchases, and keep every car and truck in the city running safely.
Croner assembled a committee of “users” from all the city departments and came up with a proposed energy and fuel policy with regard to idling vehicles. He says the “break even point” is a mere 30 seconds. Longer than that and it is better to turn off the engine. It seems like a rational policy to us.
Take a look for yourself.
Anti Idling Policy:
Vehicle idling gets zero miles per gallon; unnecessary idling wastes fuel and pollutes. Running an engine at low speed (idling) also causes additional wear on internal parts compared to driving at regular speeds. The break-even point for shutting off and restarting gasoline engines or leaving it to idle is 30 seconds – from the point of view of both emissions and fuel consumption. This restriction does not apply to congested traffic, city driving or traffic controls.
Air quality is a critical issue in our area. One of the leading sources of air pollutants of concern is from vehicle tailpipe exhaust. The City of Boise needs to be a leader in reducing sources of these air pollutants. Additionally, the rising cost of fuel makes it imperative that the City of Boise focus on fuel efficiency and cease vehicle idling when not warranted by the situation.
Effective immediately, unless exempted in the following section, no City vehicle or piece of equipment is to be idled in a non-emergency situation. The operator of the vehicle/equipment is to turn-off the unit and the keys are to be removed from the ignition.
The following situations will allow idling, as needed:
A. Emergency vehicles at scenes where lights, Power Take Offs, and/or other accessories are needed to accomplish the mission;
B. Police vehicles working traffic enforcement details;
C. Department of Public Works, Department of Parks and Recreation and Boise Airport vehicles at job sites requiring the use of emergency lights, Power Take Offs, and/or other accessories to accomplish their assignment. Planning and Development, PDS Inspector – 2005 or older and non-hybrid vehicles only, while performing inspections.
D. Inclement weather situations and the supervisor authorizes the use of the vehicle/equipment heater-defroster for the work crew’s comfort according to the guidelines listed below;
1. If the outside temperature is: Above 32 degrees F: 5 minute maximum
2. Between -10 and 32 degrees F; 15 minute maximum
3. Below -10 degrees F: as necessary
NOTE: Operators of vehicle/equipment and supervisors will be judicious in the idling of units at emergency scenes and job sites. If not all the units at the scene/site need to be idling, those units must be turned-off and the keys removed from the ignition. Each vehicle/equipment operator will be responsible for the idling operation of their unit and will have the unit keys in their possession to ensure that crewmembers do not arbitrarily violate the policy without the operator’s knowledge.
Supervisors in each department/division will be responsible for the adherence and enforcement of the idling policy. Violations of the policy will be documented as to the vehicle/equipment operator, vehicle class code, location, date and time, weather conditions, and circumstances of the violation.
The vehicle/equipment operator will be informed of the violation by the supervisor at the time of the infraction.
Department Heads will be responsible to ensure this standard of conduct in the use of City vehicles and equipment. Employees have the responsibility to abide by this regulation, violation of which can subject them to progressive disciplinary action.
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