Be Idling Free

Be Idling Free Everywhere
no idling young lungs at workIT’S YOUR E-MISSION!

Have you ever left your vehicle idling for more than 10 seconds while waiting to pick up your child at school or while at the drive-up window at the bank?  Most of us have.  Here are some very good reasons to rethink this common habit:

Vehicle emissions are the largest contributing factor to air pollution.  The combustion of fossil fuels releases several types of air pollutants that are detrimental to our health.  These include sulfur dioxides, particulate matter, carbon monoxide and other toxins contributing to the formation of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels.

Children are particularly vulnerable to air pollution.  Children breathe 50 percent faster and inhale more air per pound of body weight than adults.  Studies have shown a direct link between many respiratory diseases and pollutants found in vehicle exhaust.  In fact, asthma is the third leading cause of hospitalization for children under the age of 15.

Excessive idling is expensive.  Over 10 seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting your engine.  Idling for 10 minutes a day uses an average of 22 gallons of gas per year, and gets zero miles to the gallon.  Excessive idling is not good for your vehicle either.  It can actually damage your engine components, including cylinders, spark plugs, and exhaust systems, whereas frequent restarting has little impact on engine components like the battery and starter motor.

For the children, for yourself, and for the environment, please remember to keep your emission down and turn off your car if it isn’t moving!


Please join our Portland effort to change this

Here’s a suggestion for how to avoid idling – see what happens when you do things in this order:

1. Make your phone call or map out where you’re going first, then..
2. Get in car
3. Put on seat belts
4. Turn on Car
5. Go where you’re going.

1st Article by WA Post on uselessness of idling in the Winter and follow up by WA Post: This is why people still think they should idle their cars in winter.

Here’s a great Brochure on Anti-Idling

Some good news from Obama regarding airplanes and emissions. btw, why not military jets included?

This just in thanks to Evan Manvel: Oregon Greenhouse Gas Reduction Toolkit: Strategy Report: OREGON SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORTATION INITIATIVE: Eco Driving PDF

Be Idle Free Boise

Oregon Department of Transportation’s EcoDrive website

The American Lung Association government.html

US Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus Campaign

US Environmental Protection Agency’s Idle Free School Zones website

US Department of Energy, Idle Reduction website


(updated 7.25.17 with new infographic below from

I’ve contacted a variety of folks in the Portland and Oregon region recently to talk about starting a public awareness campaign around the issue of engine idling. Given that more people are wanting to stop their cars (hopefully) to talk on their cellphones or text, idling is probably increasing. At a time when we should be thinking about more ways to save oil, rather than waste it, and also if we wish to have cleaner air, an idling awareness campaign in our region seems useful. Here’s a link to a brochure by the City of Portland which stresses that leaving your car on for longer than 10 seconds wastes more gas than by stopping the car and re-starting it again (and other health and environmental benefits of reducing idling).

Also, OEC has a great video here for their “It’s not cool to idle at school” campaign.  Their downloadable PDF on the issue is here.

Also, the City of Denver has done a great job on this issue with their Engines off, Denver campaign.

And, NYC is doing their share.  A short film about their law passing here. Turn off your car, folks!

If engine idling is an issue that you care about, and you’d like to be a part of a working group in the Portland/Oregon area to work on it, please let me know @ – Thanks!

idling infographic

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