Stop Idling

Looking for a simple way to improve the local air quality and reduce global warming? We’ve got one: stop idling.

Innocent idling happens — it might be that radio story we have to finish or the messages we check while waiting at student pick up — but all of those minutes idling in our car add up. In the US, it is estimated that 3 billion gallons of fuel are wasted each year through idling.

Idling is more than “fuelish,” it’s unhealthy. Exhaust emissions worsen asthma, bronchitis, and allergies. According to the NJ DEP, the fine particle pollution in diesel exhaust may cause more premature death in our state than homicides and car accidents combined.

Also, idling for more than 3 minutes is illegal in New Jersey with limited exceptions, including those for emergency vehicles.

Take action. Ask your friends, family and school bus drivers to stop idling. Report diesel vehicles idling more than 3 minutes by calling 877-WARN-DEP and encourage your school district to sign the No Idling Pledge.

Protect yourself.

  • When walking or biking, pick your route carefully. There can be stark differences in air quality from one block to the next; stay clear of busy roads or idling hotspots, like school pick-up zones.
  • Know the local air quality. Use a website like AirNow to track the AQI (air quality index) for your location. Pollen and mold levels can also be assessed through the National Allergy Bureau™ webpage. On the worst pollution or allergy days, simply stay indoors.
  • Use filters.  While even the best filters cannot remove all pollutants, a properly-rated HVAC filter or portable air cleaner can help.

Did you know?

  • Skip the fee. In New Jersey, idling fines begin at $250.
  • Protect your engine. Idling adds unnecessary wear and tear, leading to increased maintenance.
  • Turn it off. If a car is going to idle for more than ten seconds, it is more fuel-efficient to turn the engine off and back on when needed. 
  • Stay warm. The best way to warm your car is by driving—your engine warms twice as quickly when driven. No need for excessive revving.