A few simple steps are all it takes to reduce idling, improve health and our air quality. In fact, idling for more than 10 seconds actually uses more gas than turning the engine off and restarting it. The average driver idles for five to ten minutes a day, contributing to elevated air pollution levels that aggravate respiratory illnesses and damage health. The campaign especially focuses on educating drivers in school loading zones, as children are particularly susceptible to health problems associated with air pollution. Schools throughout Utah will be participating in the Idle Free Campaign by having volunteers hand out “Turn Your Key, Be Idle Free” decals and providing parents with information to raise awareness.
Utah Clean Cities has had substantial success with idle-reduction since 2008, especially through the training of Utah school bus drivers. On average, drivers decreased their idling times by 21 minutes/day, saving 92,000 gallons of diesel fuel consumption, amounting to a savings of nearly $300,000 for school districts per year.
One idling vehicle realistically isn’t the main culprit of air pollution, but thousands of them are. Small changes, awareness and individual actions, however, all add up to make a significant difference.
What can you do?
•Avoid idling in loading zones and when waiting to pick up kids at school.
•Limit engine warm up time to 30 seconds and don’t idle to keep air conditioner running.
•Avoid drive-thrus. Instead, park and walk inside to order.
•Spread the word to family and friends and start your own idle free campaign.