It is a habit we all have – leaving our cars running while they are sitting still, or idling. Although it may be for just a few minutes a day that we leave the engine on, the pollutants and health problems add up. In addition, idling gets ZERO miles to the gallon.
If you have to wait longer than 10 seconds, turn your car off and reduce your emissions and save gas. Help keep the air pollution down by not idling when you’re stopped for road construction and it is a long delay, waiting in line to pick someone up, car washes, ATMs and more.
Impacts of Idling
(from Park City Municipal)
Turning off our engine and not letting our car idle is good for our health, economy and community as well as our environment.
Vehicle idling has numerous negative consequences including impacts on the environment, public health, and the inefficient use of fuel.
- Air Quality: Emissions during idling contribute to the formation of ozone and particulate matter that are major sources of pollution in Utah. Idle Free Utah notes that health issues, ranging from asthma and bronchitis to cancer, have been found linked to vehicle emissions.
- Dollars and Cents: There is a direct financial benefit to those who limit their vehicle idling time. Studies indicate a financial “break-even point” of 10-30 seconds of idling time for balancing the minimal wear-and-tear on engines versus fuel saved from shutting off the vehicle.
- Natural Resources: Vehicle idling wastes gasoline. The Department of Energy estimates that unnecessary vehicle idling in the U.S. burns up to 2 billion gallons of fuel per year. Compare this to the upper-bound estimate for oil spilled in the Exxon Valdez disaster: 31.5 million gallons. Furthermore, the Energy Information Administration estimates that the U.S. relied on net imports for 49% of our petroleum consumed in 2010.
Turn off your car at the bank or fast food drive through. Not only will the air be cleaner but those in the window helping you will appreciate it as well.