Sudbury anti-idling bylaw sees few complaints

Sudbury city hall has received a half-dozen complaints under the new idling bylaw.
Sudbury's anti-idling bylaw came into affect last fall and prohibits leaving the engine running when the temperature outside is between 5 C and 27 C.

Sudbury city hall has received a half-dozen complaints under the new idling bylaw.

The regulations — which have been in effect for close to a year — sparked plenty of debate when they were passed by city council two years ago.

And even when they approved it, Sudbury city councillors like Jacques Barbeau wondered how it might be enforced.

"At the end of the day, to think that every complaint will be answered … by the time [a] bylaw [officer] gets there, their vehicles should be out of fuel, quite frankly."

The bylaw came into effect Sept. 1, 2013 and restricted idling to two minutes — and only when the temperature is between 5 C and 27 C.

City bylaw department manager Darlene Barker said no fines have been handed out so far. Those who left their motors running were simply educated about the new bylaw and given a warning.

"We got a couple where the next door neighbour was letting their vehicle idle too long, warming it up in the morning,” Barker said.

Complaints have also involved "transport trucks on delivery, passenger vehicles waiting to pick up their kids at the ski hill, and there was a complaint about transport trucks in a yard. The person would go out in the morning to warm them up and let them idle."

Idling: Myths vs. Facts


Myth: Idling is good for your vehicle because it warms up the engine prior to driving.

Fact: Idling can actually be hard on the engine because fuel combustion is incomplete and some fuel residues condense on cylinder walls.

Myth: Individual unnecessary vehicle idling does not contribute to the problem of climate change.

Fact: Carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas that is contributing to climate change, is a natural by-product of burning gasoline. Each litre of gasoline used produces about 2.4 kg of carbon dioxide. So every time you start the engine you're contributing to the problem.

Myth: Idling is necessary on cold winter days that do not exceed minus 30 degrees Celsius to ensure that all of the vehicle's components are warm.

Fact: Many components of the vehicle including the wheel bearings, tires and suspension system will warm up only when the vehicle is moving. No more than 30 seconds of idling is needed to get the oil circulating through the engine. Only approximately 3 minutes is necessary is extremely cold weather.

Myth: Idling is only a concern in the winter.

Fact: Idling is a problem all year-round. A recent study revealed that on any given day in August, Canadians idle their vehicles for a combined total of more than 46 million minutes per day. This is equivalent to one vehicle idling consistently for 89 years.

Myth: Frequently restarting a vehicle rather than letting it idle, is hard on the vehicle's starter and battery.

Fact: Studies have shown that restarting the engine numerous times has little impact on components such as the battery and starter motor.


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