Thursday, July 29, 2010

American Idle

I have a confession to make. I buy fast food and use the drive thru. And, now for the worst part, please don't hate me - in the past I have let the engine idle while in line. Unfortunately, I am not alone.

Thirty-one states have passed anti-idling laws, Tennessee is not among them. It seems that anti-idling measures can lead to some pretty heated debate. No one denies that an idling, gasoline-powered engine spews out harmful pollutants, or that idling causes wear and tear on a vehicle.

No, the matter of contention seems to be whether it is better for the life of a vehicle to be stopped and restarted x amount of times versus idling for x amount of time. What about the lives of the residents of a community? Or the health of a local economy? Don't these trump possibly having to replace a starter? Speaking of which, every source I have turned to states emphatically that stopping and restarting the engine, does no more, and probably does less damage than idling.

But even if that weren't the case, is the quality of human life really less important than a car part? Or have we become so enamored of convenience that nothing else really matters? I'm afraid to hear the answer to that.

So the next time I have to have my particular poison, I'll be parking and walking inside to get it. And who knows, maybe after a few times, I won't feel like stopping at all.

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