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RAC research suggests drivers who idle should be fined

by Eleonora Malacarne on Oct 22, 2019 9:00:00 AM

RAC research suggests drivers who idle should be fined

According to a new RAC research made public last week, the 72% of the interviewed calls for an idling crackdown, with 44% of them stating drivers refusing to switch their engine off should be fined. 26% of the drivers surveyed, on another hand, think motorists should just be told to switch off without being fined, and a 2% thinks offenders should be fined without any type of warning.

After an initial call for more power to take action against drivers who idle, councils in the UK already have the authority to fine them, but as of now just a few chose to do it. The respondents to the survey would like to see some action taken against offenders, as 88% of them argued they see drivers idling while parking at the side of a road, 40% see drivers idling on a regular basis and 48% see them occasionally. 26% of respondents saw drivers idling outside schools.

With climate change and emissions being constantly in the news, 55% of those surveyed added that they are more concerned on the impact of vehicle emissions on the environment and public health than they were 3 years ago. But the top reason for switching off provided by the surveyed was instead cost, with 37% stating they would switch off to save on fuel, followed by 35% saying they would do it to help with air quality.

After in the June of this year the UK Government announced it would launch a consultation looking at increasing fines for those who idle, some councils have called for powers to deal with idling. Westminster City Council leader Nickie Aiken argued that “Fines are our last resort but when we establish a pattern of persistent idling we need to be able to send a message” and added that fines for company vehicles, such as supermarket delivery vans, that are caught idling need to be “a four-figure sum to be a sufficient deterrent”.

The war against idling has just started.


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Topics: Fleet Management, Fuel Economy, reduce emissions

Aggressive driving to impact on air quality targets according to Emissions Analytics

by Eleonora Malacarne on Aug 9, 2018 9:00:00 AM

Aggressive driving to impact on air quality targets according to Emissions Analytics

Another recent study confirms aggressive driving impacts vehicle emissions and, consequently, air quality targets: these are the conclusions of the latest research carried out by Emissions Analytics, which found out pollutant emissions would increase by 35% with aggressive driving in rural conditions and by around five times on the motorway, according to tests performed.


The publication of the results of the test follows a few weeks after the announcement of the “Road to Zero”, an ambitious UK government programme, which aims at creating a strategy around the mission of the UK to be the centre of the project to generate zero emission vehicles by 2040.


Emissions Analytics had started a project called EQUA Index in 2016, which aimed to provide an easy and honest picture of vehicle performance in real-world driving, in order to generate accurate fuel consumption and air quality data to vehicle consumers so they can make informed decisions. The need was clearly to set a standard for independent, real-world emissions data. With time, the need to provide accurate air quality data and fuel consumption figures has resulted in testing vehicles through an extended cycle designed to measure performance in more extreme and unusual driving conditions including, but not only, aggressive driving—conditions where higher speeds, higher and lower rates of acceleration, cold start emissions and emissions under regeneration of the diesel particulate filter were a factor.


The research conducted by Emissions Analytics has in fact found that the effect of a cold start on Euro 6 diesels, whether they have been tested under Real Driving Emissions (RDE) regulations or not, is that NOx emissions are 2.8 times higher on average during the cold start phase compared to the whole warm start cycle. During regeneration of the diesel particulate filter, NOx emissions are on average 3.3 times higher than in mixed driving with no regeneration.


Emissions Analytics said these results are important for cities, manufacturers and regulators. For cities, it is vital to know that the latest vehicles do not have emissions hotspots that could undermine their air quality targets. For manufacturers, it is important to quantify the risk of high emissions being found in unusual driving conditions, where every scenario cannot practically be tested. For regulators, it is important that Real Driving Emissions regulations are seen to work well in order to draw a line under the failed regulation of the past.


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Topics: Fleet Management, reduce emissions

Is the Hybrid car maintenance more expensive than a normal car?

by Mathilde Paus on Jun 10, 2014 4:23:00 PM

You’ve decided the time has come to change your car and you are considering the purchase of one of the many hybrid vehicles available. One of the major considerations you’ll be thinking about when looking at the different models are the differences in regular hybrid car maintenance jobs you will need to carry out. There are some differences, but not many and there are some areas which are particularly specialised and so need to be looked after by trained mechanics.

Indeed, these vehicles are different in that they combine a standard type of internal combustion engine with an electric power unit which the vehicles on board management system will switch between to give a standard car driving experience but at the same time reducing emissions and saving fuel.


What is the basic maintenance for hybrid cars?

The main areas where standard and hybrid car maintenance differ are the batteries which are stored within the car and the extra electric drive motor. Other than this, the maintenance is pretty much similar to the car you are looking to trade in.

Hybrid cars work by closing the combustion engine and then operating as normal on an electric motor. This happens under particular conditions such as driving at low speeds. This means that the engine doesn’t have to work as hard so there isn’t as much wear and tear as you’d find on a standard vehicle. A hybrid also usually uses a regenerative braking system which charges the batteries as well as reducing the amount of degenerative wear on the brakes.

The biggest difference when it comes to thinking about maintenance is that the drive train differs between the two kinds of vehicle. In a hybrid, the engine, the electric drive motor and the transmission are all designed to be an integral part of each other as opposed to separate components in a non-hybrid. This means that if one part suffers a fault, it can instantly and seriously affect the way the other parts work. This can be a serious issue and because of the technology element of the system of a hybrid it means computer diagnosis; not something which can be sorted at home in the garage – it needs to go to a trained mechanic.

What jobs can I do at home?

There are some jobs you can do at home though. You can check the levels of the transmission fluid, change the fuel filters, the air filters and spark plugs as you would in any regular home service. Anything more complex though needs specific training so it’s good not to delve much deeper. You should also check your windscreen washer fluid on a weekly basis as well as your tyre pressures and their condition generally. If you are driving the car under harsh conditions such as frequent short trips, constantly pulling a trailer or driving at sustained high speeds, you should carry out regular maintenance at much shorter intervals.

Hybrids often have dedicated cooling systems. This is because the electronic components which manage the electric drive motor for propulsion and braking create incredible amounts of heat.

Hybrid cars carry a battery control module which manages the regulation of the rates of charge and discharge. It also manages the charging of the whole battery bank. These operating conditions mean that there will be both a heating and a cooling system.

Maintenance for the battery element of a hybrid should include checking the individual hoses for cracks and splits as well as the pipes and clamps for any rust or damage. If there are other filters which are used in the system, they should be changed on a regular basis.

Leave the electrics to the specialists

Hybrids run on a dual voltage system and the majority is 12-volt. However, some components such as the drive motor operate at levels over 100 volts which could – if tampered with by someone who is not trained – be fatal. As a warning, the relevant cables are encased in bright orange casing and any area of a hybrid with a maintenance requirement related to these parts must only ever be dealt with by a trained technician. This is because the whole system must be de-powered and it is never a job for the home mechanic.

More trips to the garage but savings in other areas

Overall, owning a hybrid will mean extra trips to the garage to carry out maintenance you could perhaps have resolved yourself with a non-hybrid vehicle. However, the upshot is that you are owning a much more ecologically sound car which is saving you money in fuel so the scales of budget to start to even themselves out. If you are mechanically minded, it’s a case of working to the limits of your knowledge and knowing when to pass the job to those who are specialists rather than trying to work on fixing something you could end up causing more damage to – or damaging yourself.

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Topics: fuel saving, Eco-driving & Green actions, hybrid car, reduce emissions, ecology, maintenance

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