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Posted on: May 2, 2023

Good Air Quality Means Breathing Easy in Skokie


The Village’s Human Resources and Public Works’ Automotive divisions are collaborating to support the health of Skokie residents and better air quality. Staff recently reviewed and recommended changes to the Village’s Anti-Idling Policy, including:

  • Communicating the benefits of reduced idling in terms of vehicle life as well as efficiencies associated with diesel emissions systems.
  • Utilizing the existing Auto Alliance Eco Driver’s Manual as the official employee guideline for fleet vehicle operation.
  • Aligning work processes that integrate sustainability values into new employee orientation and future recruitment announcements.   

Health Impacts

Two key air pollutants can affect asthma. One is ozone (found in smog). The other is particle pollution (found in haze, smoke, and dust). Studies show that when ozone and particle pollution are in the air, adults and children with asthma and other lung diseases are more likely to have symptoms.

Studies also show that air pollution can trigger heart attacks, stroke, and irregular heart rhythms—especially in people who are already at risk for these conditions. For people with heart failure, air pollution can further reduce the ability of the heart to pump blood the way that it should. Particle pollution is the pollutant of greatest concern for triggering these effects.

Why Reduce Idling?

  • Reducing vehicle idling time saves fuel and money, cuts pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and contributes to U.S. energy security.
  • Decreasing idle time can also reduce engine wear and associated maintenance costs, especially for heavy-duty trucks.
  • Accounting for all road vehicles, from passenger cars to heavy-duty trucks, Argonne National Laboratory estimates that more than 6 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel combined are lost to idling every year. Even when fuel prices are as low as $2 per gallon, that wasted fuel translates into more than $11 billion annually.
  • To quantify, the US Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program found that an idling vehicle wastes up to half a gallon of gas per hour and releases 20 pounds of carbon dioxide for every gallon of gas burned. 
  • Vehicle idle reduction has been proven to improve engine performance and lengthen the lifespan of fleet vehicles.

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