This page is adapted from a poster created by intern Julia Ward.
Save Money, Your Health, & the Environment
— Be Idle Free!
- If you’re going to be stopped for more than 60 seconds, turn your engine off (except in traffic).
- Use alternate means to get around: walk, bike, or carpool instead.
- Drive the vehicle to warm up the car instead of idling it.
- Spread the word to family, friends, neighbors, and school bus drivers. It is an easy way to help create more sustainable community!
- In your area school district, encourage a no idling policy.
If we were able to cut idling time in half in the U.S. through education and outreach, the result would be preventing between 7 and 26 million tons of Carbon Dioxide from entering the atmosphere each year.
Idling Gets You Nowhere!
Idling Makes People Sick
Air pollution levels above the federal standard: aggravate asthma, aggravate allergies, cause coughing or difficulty breathing, decrease lung function, exacerbate cardiovascular problems, lead to chronic bronchitis, & worsen the symptoms of upper respiratory illnesses (particularly among children).
- Emissions are still present and harmful, even when you can’t see the exhaust.
- Exhaust emissions increase school absences, ER visits, and even premature deaths.
- Children, whose lungs are still developing, breathe more rapidly and inhale more pollutants per pound of body weight than adults.
Idling Wastes Money
When you adopt alternatives to long-duration idling, you save money on fuel expenses and reduce engine maintenance costs.
- Idling cumulatively wastes more than 10 billion gallons of gasoline each year.
- Idling causes spark plugs to become dirtier more quickly. This can cause an increase in fuel consumption by 4 to 5 percent.
- 10 seconds of idling uses more fuel than turning on the engine and restarting it.
- For each hour spent idling, a typical truck burns approximately one gallon of diesel fuel, and a typical car wastes 1/5 of a gallon of gasoline.
Idling Hurts Our World
Car exhaust emitted while driving or idling contains nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide. Excessive amounts of these chemicals in the air contribute to air pollution.
- An idling vehicle emits 20 times more pollution than one traveling at 30 miles per hour.
- Every gallon of gas burned produces more than 20 pounds of greenhouse gases!
- For every 10 minutes your engine is off, you’ll prevent one pound of carbon dioxide from being released (carbon dioxide is the primary contributor to global warming).
Adapted from a poster created by intern Julia Ward, November 2011. View small version of poster [PDF]