Poor Air Quality Days

Objective A3: Reduce the City’s Contribution to Poor Air Quality Days

The following actions are needed to complete this objective:

  • Update the Greening the City Fleet Manual.
  • When purchasing for fleet replacement, continue to include wording in the tenders with respect to “lower emitting vehicle” options and automatic shut-off for idling vehicles.
  • Continue to implement the Fleet Winter Maintenance Policy.
  • Replace older maintenance equipment used by Parks staff with equipment that produces fewer emissions.
  • Develop a plan to further limit and monitor the dust at construction sites.
  • Develop a plan to modify City of Windsor operations on poor air quality days.
  • Implement recommendations in the Corporate Climate Action Plan (2017), such as increasing transit ridership, advancing transit vehicle replacement and exploring alternative propulsion vehicles.
  • Develop a program to replace public transit buses regularly to improve efficiency.
  • Develop an electric charging strategy for electric vehicles.
  • Increase the tree canopy coverage of the city.

These indicators show the progress the City is making to achieve this objective:

Fuel Use Indicator

Gas pumpsThe City of Windsor's Fleet Operations is responsible for the purchase, management, maintenance and disposal of a fleet of more than 557 on- and off-road vehicles. The City also has other equipment, such as tractors, loaders and mowers for the Parks department. As vehicles are replaced by the City of Windsor, consideration will be given to fuel-efficient vehicles and the right size of vehicles. In the meantime, proper maintenance of vehicles will impact total fuel usage.

Burned fossil fuels in our vehicles, gas-powered lawn equipment and barbecues are large contributors to poor air quality and greenhouse gas emissions. Pollutants like nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide and volatile organic chemicals are produced through the burning of fossil fuels. These pollutants, when mixed with sunlight, form ground level ozone (see ground level ozone indicator for more info). Ground level ozone and particulate matter (also generated from the burning of fossil fuels) are the two main ingredients of smog. 

The easiest ways to reduce our contribution to smog is to reduce our use of gas-powered vehicles and to conserve energy.

How are we doing?

Corporate Fuel Consumption by Type - flatline trend, as described below.

*Note: In 2017, the City reduced the number of garbage packers due to contracting of garbage operations.

**Note: In 2020, buses were at reduced service due to COVID-19 measures.

As seen in the chart above, fuel consumption of gasoline, propane and diesel at the City of Windsor has flat-lined. This includes fuel use from all City of Windsor vehicles, local vehicle use by staff, parks equipment, Fire & Rescue Services and Transit Windsor.

What is the City of Windsor doing to reduce fuel consumption?

  • In 2012, City Council approved the Greening the City Fleet Manual. This Plan aims to reduce fuel consumption by implementing a number of measures: minimizing the size of our fleet, ensuring vehicles are the appropriate size for the job, introducing hybrid vehicles and conducting fuel efficient driver training and preventative maintenance programs.
  • Automatic shut-offs are a standard feature on heavy equipment and an anti-idling pilot program was recently implemented on gasoline pickup trucks.
  • Windsor Police Services and our corporate fleet operate nine and one hybrid vehicles respectively.
  • Transit Windsor currently operates 29 hybrid bus units, which help to decrease fuel consumption. They have also implemented the Smart Driver for Transit program. The intent of the program is to reduce fuel consumption and exhaust emissions by educating drivers on how the engine uses fuel, how exhaust emissions affect the environment, how fuel use affects engine maintenance and how much fuel might be saved through fuel-efficient driving.
  • Anti-Idling By-Law #233-2001 (see By-laws Online) prohibits excessive idling of vehicles and boats. According to this by-law, any person who causes or permits a vehicle or boat to idle for more than five minutes in an hour is guilty of an offence.

What can you do to reduce your fuel consumption?

  • When possible, use public transportation instead of your car, or walk, or ride your bicycle.
  • Look for alternatives to gas-powered machines and vehicles. Try a rowboat or sailboat instead of a motorboat or a push-type lawnmower instead of one that runs on gasoline.
  • Consider fuel efficiency when you buy a vehicle.
  • Use a block heater in the winter to warm the engine before starting. When the engine is cold, fuel consumption, engine wear and exhaust emissions are at their worst.
  • Do not idle your vehicle. An idling engine will burn more than 2.5 L/hour. Ten seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting your engine. Warming up your engine by driving will reduce the warm-up time by half and reduce fuel consumption when compared to warming the engine by idling.
  • Maintain your vehicle. Well-maintained engines and properly inflated tires can significantly increase fuel efficiency. Emissions from well-maintained vehicles are 20 to 50 percent less than those from engines that are not properly maintained. Studies show that one tire under-inflated by two pounds per square inch (psi) will increase fuel consumption by one percent.
  • Speeding is not only illegal, it also increases your car's fuel consumption. At 120 km/hour your fuel consumption could be as much as 20 percent higher than at 100 km/hr.
  • Develop smooth driving habits. Sudden braking or gearshift moves and abrupt stops and starts reduce fuel efficiency.
  • Think before you leave home. By preparing a list, you will reduce the chance of forgetting something and having to make another trip. Making one long trip instead of several short ones will reduce fuel usage as well.

Greening the City Fleet

In October 2012, Windsor City Council approved the Greening the City Fleet Manual. The guiding principle in this green fleet plan is to improve fuel efficiency, which will reduce air emissions and fuel costs. The actions selected for inclusion in the green fleet plan shall guide the City's fleet decisions to ensure the environment is considered in all decisions made.

For more information on environmental initiatives:

Phone: For general information, call 311. For detailed inquiries, call 519-255-6100 ext. 6127.
E-mail: emp@citywindsor.ca