Help the Planet With a Hybrid

By: Brenden Somerville   |   18 Jul 2016
Car with a leaf on a wooded table

Toronto is no stranger to pollution. With all of the cars and trucks that are bumper to bumper in rush-hour traffic, it's easy for smog to accumulate in the air. Transportation is a leading cause of CO2 emissions in Toronto, and a major source of the air pollutants that cause smog, which becomes a major problem for those who breathe the air. One of the biggest factors in this CO2 production is caused by the act of idling, in which your car is running, but not moving. Idling not only wastes fuel and money, but it unnecessarily pollutes our air. Toronto is now an idle-free zone and City of Toronto employees are governed by a policy to minimize idling. If you're driving, and your vehicle is stopped for 10 seconds, shut it off. In fact, if all drivers do this, we can reduce CO2 emissions in Toronto by approximately 2,100 tonnes per year, which is equivalent to taking 486 passenger cars off the road annually. There are many myths surrounding idling, which make many drivers reluctant to follow the no-idle rule, or even be aware of what the act itself is doing to the atmosphere.

Be Better Informed

Idling is especially common in the colder winter months, when people believe that their cars must be "warmed up" before driving. This is a myth, and has been proven to only help you as a driver feel less cold when you slip into the driver's seat. While it's true that all vehicles have a standard operational temperature, idling in excess of 10 minutes is not necessary, and you are only doing a diservice to you, your car, and your budget. Heavy duty vehicles, like transport trucks, need only a warm-up time for three to five minutes, no matter the temperature, and light duty vehicles, like your everyday car, truck, or SUV need only a warm-up for 30 seconds, no matter the temperature. The only vehicles that are exempt from the idling rule are emergency vehicles from Toronto Fire, Toronto Police, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) busses, which means that contrary to popular belief, working vehicles like delivery trucks and taxis have no excuse but to abide by the laws like every other driver on the streets of Toronto. 

Idling is also a major problem with drivers who are under the impression that turning the vehicle on and off causes harm. Studies show that frequent restarting has little impact on engine parts such as the battery and starter motor. The wear on components that restarting the engine causes adds about $10 a year to the cost of driving - money that you'll likely recover several times over in fuel savings from reduced idling. Of course, if you're stuck in traffic on the Don Valley Parkway, it's not realistic for the hundreds of vehicles on the road to stop and start their engines. But, in more realistic situations, like waiting to pick up a passenger on the side of the road, you can definitely turn off your vehicle and contribute to a cleaner Toronto.

Try a Hybrid

Green vehicles are more efficient when it comes to fuel and less hazardous to the environment in terms of pollutants. Electric hybrids, or EV's, and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles, or PHEV's, run on a combination of electricity and gasoline, where most of the power comes from the electric motor and the gasoline engine acts as a back-up. Electric vehicles (EVs) have a battery instead of a gasoline tank, and an electric motor instead of an internal combustion engine. EVs produce no tailpipe emissions, which means you'll never breathe in that horrendous black smog that's common in so many other models. While charging the battery may increase pollution at the power plant, total emissions associated with driving EVs are still typically less than those for gasoline cars—particularly if the electricity is generated from renewable energy sources like wind or sun. Most EV drivers opt to charge their vehicles at night, allowing for at least 8 hours of uninterrupted charging time. The number of miles an EV will travel before the battery needs to be recharged may be significantly less than the distance your gasoline car can travel before being refueled, however an electric vehicle that idles is far less harmful to the atmosphere than a non-electric or hybrid model.

At Somerville Auto, we have an amazing selection of pre-owned luxury vehicles, including several green makes and models. Shop our selection today and give us a call at 1-(877) 503-5102 to test drive one today!


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