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Mike Waters' blog: 24 February 2012 - Punishing idle behaviour

Date: 24 February 2012

Mike Waters is senior insight & consultancy manager at Arval, the leading vehicle leasing and fleet management company.

When it comes to setting policy, Mayor of London Boris Johnson has always been quick to champion environmental initiatives. So it comes as no surprise that he has launched a new air quality campaign which targets drivers who leave their engines idling in the capital.

The 'no idling' campaign applies to vehicles that are parked and drivers waiting to pick up and drop off passengers. The rule is, you will be penalised if you leave your vehicle running for more than 60 seconds while it is stationary. This new campaign follows a move by the City of London to fine drivers up to £40 if they are caught leaving their engines running, which came into force in January.

When it comes to reducing vehicle pollution, this isn't going to change the world, but it is a positive initiative and London does tend to set the trend for many things; especially this year with the eyes of the world on our capital because of the Olympics.

It also highlights that being more efficient doesn't have to mean going out and buying a brand new car. There are a number of quick and easy things that drivers can do to reduce the amount of fuel that they use and limit their emissions.

Of course, technology can provide a great deal of support. In particular, Stop Start is becoming more and more popular in modern cars as the manufacturers look to improve their mpg statistics. However, turning off the engine while stationary for a period of time is an example of how drivers can make the same impact without technological support.

The Olympics has brought this particular initiative into focus, but it is a reminder, that the simplest, and sometimes the cheapest, things can make a difference. It also reinforces that no matter how efficient the vehicle, it is driver behaviour that has the biggest influence over performance and not the specification of the car.

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