Kane County could adopt a new internal policy to reduce unnecessary idling from government staff and vehicles — a simple step that could save thousands of taxpayer dollars each year.
The Energy & Environmental Committee endorsed the policy at its March 11 meeting, and the resolution will move to the Executive Committee, then the full County Board for a vote in April.
According to a report by Kane County Resource Coordinator Cecilia Govrik, idling a car wastes up to 0.5 gallons of fuel per hour and emits 20 pounds of carbon dioxide for every gallon of fuel burned. Research from Argonne National Laboratory shows that an idling vehicle emits 20 times more pollution than one traveling at 32 mph.
Many local government entities in the Chicago region, including the city of Batavia and DuPage County Forest Preserve, have similar policies in place to address idling. The county used the example set by those two units of government as well as resources available from Chicago Area Clean Cities to develop the county’s internal policy.
The policy will apply to all county staff and fleet vehicles, regardless of the vehicle size and type, and will limit idling to 30 seconds under normal conditions. A variety of exclusions apply to allow for necessary idling in extreme temperatures, for emergencies or safety reasons, or for normal operations of specialty law enforcement or KDOT vehicles.
- For a PowerPoint presentation on the initiative, click here to see the agenda packet from the March 11 meeting.
The Kane County Division of Environmental & Water Resources started researching options for an idling reduction program last summer, and the County is right on track to meet a Kane County Operational Sustainability Plan goal of adopting an idling policy by 2015.
For Kane County government’s fleet of 280 vehicles, reducing idling by only five minutes per week for each vehicle could save $2,000 each year in the county’s fuel costs and prevent 15,800 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere — all from educating county staff and asking them to make some simple behavior changes.
Govrik said there will be a learning curve as Kane County implements the policy and the corresponding education program for staff and contractors, but the resulting benefits from reducing fuel costs and emissions will be well worth it.
Learn more about idling reduction programs in the Chicago area by visiting the Chicago Clean Cities website, or check out how other communities in the U.S. are reducing idling in this Clean Cities video.