About Idling

Idling means leaving a vehicle’s engine running when it is parked or not in use.

Idling happens while:

  • Waiting to pick someone up from school, sports practice or the library
  • Sitting at a drive-through or car wash
  • Checking email and voicemail – check before you start the car

Myths about idling:

  • “I need to warm up my car.” Idling is NOT the best way to warm up your car – driving is
  • “Shutting off and restarting my car is hard on the engine and uses more gas than if I leave it running.” Frequent restarting has little impact on engine components

Top reasons to be idle free:

  • Save money –30 seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting the engine
  • Breathe easier – car exhaust can aggravate asthma and decrease lung function – especially in children
  • Keep the sky blue – car exhaust is the #1 source of summertime air pollution in the Bay Area
  • Reduce your carbon footprint – up to 1,500 pounds of greenhouse gases per year (link)

How Idling Affects Your Health:
The pollutants found in exhaust not only affect our environment, they also affect our health. Particulate matter (PM) is the name for tiny particulates, such as soot, dust and dirt found in the air. When inhaled, these small particles travel into the lungs and sometimes into the bloodstream. Inhaling PM can:

  • Aggravate asthma
  • Cause coughing or difficult breathing
  • Decrease lung function
  • Exacerbate cardiovascular problems
  • Lead to chronic bronchitis

30-second Rule: Turn off the car’s engine if you’ll be waiting for more than 30 seconds and help us all breathe easier.

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