Chicago has always been a center for trade and to transport those goods the city relies heavily on diesel powered vehicles. While these trucks, trains, and boats are what keeps are economy afloat, they are a huge contributor to air pollution. Idling vehicles release a ton of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and a bunch of other chemicals that affect our world and its climate. These pollutants can contribute to respiratory problems, lung damage, and even lead to cancer. In 2009, the city of Chicago passed an anti-idling law on diesel vehicles. What it does is limit the idling time to three minutes every hour for diesel powered vehicles within Chicago for a fine of $250. There is a state law that limits 10 minutes of idling that was imposed in 2006.
This strict idling limit not only improves health and air quality, but also results in fuel conservation. When idling, a typical diesel-powered truck burns almost a gallon of fuel per hour. By not idling 30 minutes a day for one year, a truck driver saves 125 gallons of diesel and therefore approximately $481 in fuel costs (assuming a diesel fuel price of $3.85 per gallon)—while also preventing at least 101 pounds of air pollution and 2,775 pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere. Idling also causes the longevity of the engine to deteriorate.
While the law is being enforced by the Department of Public Health inspectors, traffic and parking enforcement aides, and police officers, between 2006 and 2010, only 34 tickets have been reported, none of which came from police officers. If the laws aren’t being enforced then it is up to us to learn, spread the word, and take it into our own hands to enforce an educational ticket for a fine that is priceless.