by Cheryl Green for SUST 210 online
It may not be easy to leave a car in the driveway, pick up a bike, and ride through the city and suburbs to your destination if you have many miles to ride. With our multi-faceted and complicated lifestyles that involve, for example, dropping off the children to daycare or school, many of us have time constraints that do not allow us to take a moment in our day to focus on what has become a world-wide concern — that is, global warming.
In the bitter cold of the winter each day, commuters have one thing on the brain: get to work. The train stations are filled with people who have driven from home to commuter parking lot; millions of others drive their vehicles directly to the parking garage steps away from their workplaces. Not only is driving a car through the town everyday a health environmental hazard, but so is the common cold-weather practice of warming up a car. Research shows that it is unnecessary to warm up your car in the winter months.
Once a car is turned on, the car warms up rather quickly and the engine warms up relatively faster when the car is in full motion. Warming up a car in the winter does not provide motorists with any real benefit to their comfort or engine performance, but does increase carbon monoxide and dioxide emissions into the air, heating the earth, as it sits idling. Even more important, there is a health risk of inhaling toxins when warming a car inside of a garage, even though the doors might be open for ventilation.
Cars are always parked on the street, waiting for people; taxis circling the streets to pick up passengers, and personal drivers waiting for executives, with their cars idling the entire time, putting unhealthy pollution into the atmosphere and continuing to warm the earth. Can you imagine the number of cars that release these emissions and what it is doing to our planet and your health? Thinking about warming up your car? Think again.
Submitted 28 February 2012