Idle-Free Community

Three Big Reasons Not to Idle Your Car

1. It causes health problems: Vehicle emissions contribute to health issues such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, heart disease and cancer.

2. It’s a waste of money: Idling your car wastes gasoline and causes additional engine wear, costing you money. Idling for an average of 10 minutes each day would cost you over $300 a year based on current gas prices!*

3. It’s the law: Massachusetts law prohibits excess idling. It’s wise to turn off your engine if you’re waiting for more than 10 seconds, but it’s downright illegal to idle your car for more than 5 minutes. – MGL, Chapter 90 Section 16A

Common Myths About Idling from the EDF

“Restarting your car does not burn more fuel than leaving it idling” 

Idling for just 10 seconds wastes more gas than restarting the engine.

“Warm up your engine by driving it, not by idling.”

Today’s electronic engines do not need to warm up, even in winter. The best way to warm the engine is by easing into your drive and avoiding excessive engine revving. After just a few seconds, your vehicle is safe to drive! The vehicle’s engine warms twice as quickly when driven.

“Warm up the cabin interior by driving, not idling.”

Easing into your drive is also the best way to get your vehicle’s heating system delivering warmer air faster. Sitting in an idling car means you are breathing in more of the dirty exhaust that leaks into the car cabin. Any warmth you may get from a car heater is not worth the damage to your health. If parked and waiting, it is healthier to get out of your car and go inside a store or building.

“Protect your car engine by idling less.”

Frequent restarts are no longer hard on a car’s engine and battery. The added wear (which amounts to no more than $10 a year) is much less costly than the amount of fuel wasted by idling (which can range from $70 to $650 a year). Idling actually increases overall engine wear by causing the car to operate for longer than necessary.

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