Title: Idling



What is Idling?

Why is Idling a Problem?

Myths About Idling

Did You Know..?

School Bus Idling



Engine control technologies

Research Reports

What Are Other Cities Doing?


Download HCES' new anti-idling brochure!


What is Idling?

An idling vehicle is basically one whose engine is running when it is parked or not in use. Market research has found that the most common reasons for engine idling are:

  • warming up the car

  • waiting for someone

  • doing an errand

Other reasons, reported by drivers include:

  • personal comfort

  • listening to the radio

  • parking illegally

  • convenience

Why is idling a problem?

Vehicle idling is one of the biggest problems among today's drivers.

What people often don't realize about idling is that it wastes money and natural resources, it can damage our vehicles, affect the environment, and harm our health.


     Wastes Money & Natural Resources

  • Thirty seconds of idling can use more fuel than turning off the engine and restarting it. If you are stopped for more than 30 seconds - except in traffic - turn off your engine.

  • An idling car is the most inefficient car on the road -- it gets   0 miles per gallon.  Turning off your car will save gas and money.

     Damages our Vehicles

  • Idling is not an effective way of warming up your engine, as your vehicle is made up of many moving parts. To properly warm your vehicle's transmission, tires, suspension, steering and wheel bearings, you need to slowly drive-off.

     Affects the Environment

  • Keep in mind that every gallon of gas you use you produces about 19 pounds of carbon dioxide.

     Harms our Health

  • Children are particularly vulnerable to air pollution because they breathe faster than adults and inhale more air per pound of body weight.

  • Many people believe that they are protected from air pollution if they remain inside their vehicles. Not so according to a report by the International Center for Technology Assessment (CTA). CTA found that exposure to most auto pollutants, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carbon monoxide (CO), is much higher inside vehicles than at the road side. VOCs and CO are linked to serious health problems--like respiratory infections and cancer--are known to shorten life. The highest exposure occurs when sitting in traffic congestion on highways or in a line-up of idling vehicles at a school or drive-through.

Thank you to the City of Mississauga, Canada, for much of the material presented in this portion of our site.


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