Idling is wasteful. It costs drivers money, consumes non‐renewable resources, and contributes to local air pollution, while the vehicle does not move an inch.
The air quality impacts of engine idling are considerable. An idling engine burns fuel at a lower temperature than an engine operating at driving speed. Since the vehicle is not moving, it is sitting in its own exhaust, further impeding fuel combustion and releasing more hydrocarbons than a moving vehicle.
While restarting a vehicle does increase use of the battery, alternator, and starter motor, it reduces wear and tear on the engine when compared to idling. A vehicle that is running will sustain wear and tear on the engine, spark plugs, alternator, and exhaust system. The EPA recommends idling for no more than 30 seconds at a time to control maintenance costs, fuel costs, and pollution.
When picking up children from school, turn off the engines in front of schools. Children are especially impacted by air pollution because their lungs are still growing.
When dropping off or picking up dry cleaning, using bank services, and picking up food at a fast food restaurant, park the car and use counter service. You’ll be more easily understood by the person serving you, and you’ll lessen vehicle exhaust for the individuals who live and work in the area.