What Is Idling?

  • Idling a car wastes up to 0.5 gallons of fuel per hour
  • Idling a medium-duty truck wastes 0.4 to 0.6 gallons of fuel per hour.
  • Idling in the U.S. uses more than 6 billion gallons of fuel at a cost of more than $20 billion EACH YEAR.
  • Engine idling increases vehicle maintenance costs. Engine idling can shorten vehicle life.

Idling Pollutes

  • Each gallon of fuel burned produces about 20 pounds of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.
  • Nationally, 27% of greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation.
  • Pollution from motor vehicles contributes to the formation of ground-level ozone. 

Idling Threatens Health

  • The most significant health impacts of transportation stem from tailpipe emissions.Particulate matter irritates the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs, contributing to respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses and even premature death.
  • Ozone can inflame and damage the airways and aggravate lung diseases such as asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis.

What can we do reduce idling? The basic solution is be aware of our actions and take responsibility to reduce our own vehicle idling. Some other techniques include utilizing technology, such as the idle timer that turns engine off after a preset amount of idle time, or an automatic engine shut-down/start-up system, which would turn engine off and restarts it based on cabin temperature or battery-charge level.

For those cold nights, truckers could outfit there trucks with an alternate auxiliary system to power their heaters, A/C, and other electronics. Alternatively gas stations and other stop locations can introduce Electrified parking spaces (EPS) that provide heating/cooling via duct or electrical outlets.  

For those who wish to start reducing your idling right away, here is a simple worksheet to get started

Let’s do our part and stop idling as much as possible!

Sandra Philpott