Pure Waste Challenge, Part III: Take Action, Stop Idling


We're up to part three (here's part one and part two) of our spotlight on the Pure Waste Challenge. Remember, it's a program to inspire action against global warming, and the proceeds benefit the Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF), and helping out is as easy as sending an email. Here's how it works:

1) Read the primers that help you take quick, meaningful action in your daily life to start reducing your contribution to global warming.
2) Consider engaging one, two, or all three of the suggested behaviors (it'd be best if you did them all, too, in addition to considering it, but that's not a requirement).
3) Fire off a quick email (details after the jump) to confirm that you're primed and ready to take action. Once you click "send," the Hinkle Charitable Foundation (HCF) will donate $100 to SELF. Just for the one little email. We really think it's worth it.SELF is a global non-profit working hard to simultaneously combat global poverty and climate change. Their primary mission is to bring solar power and modern communications to rural villages in the developing world. In many instances, SELF’s installations are directed to education, health and irrigation facilities and can include joint ventures, where local participants invest in a portion of the project. Providing solar electric power to remote, off-grid people frees them from the unpalatable alternatives of either using kerosene-generated power (which is both bodily and environmentally dangerous) or living with no electricity, no lights, no irrigation possibilities, and no connection to the outside world.

The last primer reminds us that every minute counts, especially when it comes to car engine idling. To most, idling a car may seem fairly innocuous, but it is actually detrimental to the modern automotive engine, wastes gasoline, and is often done based on mistaken assumptions, outdated logic, or simply out of habit.

Each day, Americans waste approximately 3.8 million gallons of gasoline by voluntarily idling their cars. While all idling is bad for the car engine, this primer addresses only voluntary idling, which occurs when the car is not actually being driven in traffic. There are, however, easy steps owners of conventional car can take to help the cause.

Myth 1: Cars should run in an idling mode for several minutes before being driven.

Wrong. Modern engines do not need more than a few seconds of idling time before they can be driven safely. Moreover, the best way to warm up a car is to drive it, since that warms up the catalytic converter and other mechanical parts of the car, in addition to the engine.

Myth 2: Each time you start your car you waste more gasoline than if you let it idle.

Wrong. Automotive engines do not operate efficiently when they idle. Experts say there is a maximum 10 second break-even rule. If you are idling longer than 10 seconds both you and the engine are better off if the engine is turned off and restarted.

Myth 3: Repeatedly restarting your car is hard on the engine and quickly drains the battery.

Wrong again. Frequently restarting your engine does negligible damage to the engine and does not drain modern batteries excessively. In fact, the opposite is true; idling an engine forces it to operate in a very inefficient and gasoline-rich mode that, over time, can degrade the engine’s performance and reduce mileage.

Now that we've been through all three primers, we encourage everyone to think about how these behavior changes can make a difference, and then send a quick email to purewaste(at)thehcf(dot)org with your name and e-mail address where you'd like the acknowledgment sent, and the Hinkle Charitable Foundation will make the $100 grant to SELF.

To sum it up: Read. Commit. Act. It's that simple. It's a worthwhile cause, and it's Friday afternoon, so take a break and do yourself, the planet and the good folks at SELF a favor and fire off the email.

::Hinkle Charitable Foundation and ::SELF present the ::Pure Waste Challenge