Linda Gaines: Less idling, less oil
Linda Gaines, a Systems Analyst in the Center for Transportation Research at Argonne National Lab, studies vehicle idling. We’re all familiar with idling—sitting at traffic lights, waiting in a running car to pick someone up, watching trucks idle while their drivers make deliveries.
Cumulatively, the impact of vehicle idling is huge. In the U.S. alone, idling uses more than 6 billion gallons of fuel each year.
In one study, Linda’s research team addressed a common dilemma faced by fast-food customers—do you use less fuel to drive-thru, or to park, go inside the restaurant, and then restart the car? The answer: idling for longer than 10 seconds consumes more fuel and produces more global warming pollution than stopping and restarting, so you’re better off going inside the restaurant.
Linda’s team turns their findings into practical tools to help drivers reduce their idling, and even created an online IdleBox toolkit in partnership with the Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program.
Given the amount of oil wasted by idling vehicles each year, Linda’s work is making important progress towards improving vehicle fuel efficiency—a key piece of the UCS Half the Oil plan.