Summer means more than just cookouts and vacations, it’s also the time of year air quality alerts spike. Pollution doesn’t play well with summer’s longer days and increased heat. Asthma sufferers, other groups who have a hard time breathing, the elderly and young children rely on the EPA’s guide for air quality to know when to stay indoors. Locally, when there’s an air quality alert, the news advises us to put off mowing the lawn, limit our driving and other tips for reducing emissions. I even heard a PSA on the radio asking drivers to turn off their cars if their engine needs to idle more than 10 seconds (It’s a myth that restarting your car burns more gas than letting your engine idle).

Idle Engines > Idle Hands

Idling is such a big issue, cities like Cleveland have made the move to switch their fleets and public transportation over to emission-free vehicles, which has been shown to have reduced asthma attacks in the area. A 2009 report by the EDF found that “in New York City alone, idling cars and trucks produce 130,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year. To offset this amount of global warming pollution, we would need to plant an area the size of Manhattan with trees every single year.”

Just last month, there was an interesting write up on interesting new technology in the works at the University of Waterloo to reduce emissions. Researchers found that 95% of the energy used by vehicle while idling is wasted. So, their engineers are designing a way for a second-battery system to harness that lost energy – Pretty cool.

Do Missed Packages Add to Idle Engine Time?

It depends. During the holidays when drivers are making deliveries to several houses on one street, they’re more likely to let their trucks idle briefly between stops. But if there’s going to be longer window of time between deliveries, you’ve likely heard the driver cut his truck off and back on between stops. This is done to reduce idle time to save fuel and be mindful of the environment. FedEx and UPS both have policies in place to cut down on emissions that include newer trucks and new technology.

So, if you’re that person that’s been waiting for the Internet to catch up with your desire to never leave the house – your dream has come true. Gizmodo created this guide on 2013, but I imagine it’s probably even easier now to turn to the Internet for all of your shopping. However there is a side-effect – CityLab took a look at how increased deliveries are increasing congestion in major cities. The prediction is that there will be some short-term traffic-related discomfort, but in the long-term as a new culture takes root, this delivery dilemma with resolve itself.

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, then you know the larger on-going concern is missed packages. Repeat delivery attempts mean extra fuel, more emissions and other additional costs to get your package in your hands. Solving this dilemma has inspired some creative solutions like drone delivery and our very own smart mailbox.


MailHaven takes the stress out of your delivery experience by managing your orders and tracking your shipments with our iOS app. And when your packages arrive, they’re protected from never-do-wells and Mother Nature by our smart mailbox. Interested? You can sign up for our app beta and get on our pre-order list for a smart mailbox.