SSCAS conducts Idle-Free Outreach periodically throughout the airshed. The program aims to raise idling awareness among local residents, with the ultimate goal of improving air quality in the Sea to Sky corridor by reducing unnecessary vehicle emissions, which are a key source of air contaminants and greenhouse gases. The program engages the public using a community-based social marketing approach designed to make motorists aware of the negative impacts of vehicle idling and the benefits of reducing their idling. It also involves monitoring idling behavior, identifying sites where vehicles frequently idle (“hotspots”) and providing signage, where needed. Outreach work is focused on hotspots.

Myths and Facts About Idling

MYTH: Idling uses less gas than restarting the engine.  Studies clearly show that idling for over 10 seconds uses more fuel and produces more CO2 emissions than restarting your engine. The amount of time to offset any potential maintenance costs to the starter or battery is under 60 seconds. So, as a guideline, if a car is stopped for more than 60 seconds the engine should be turned off.

MYTH: Idling warms the engine.  Idling is not an effective way to warm up your vehicle, even in cold weather. The best way to warm a car is to drive it. The tires, transmission, wheel bearings and other moving parts all need to be warmed up for the vehicle to perform well, and most of these parts do not begin to warm up until you drive.

FACT: For the average vehicle with a 3-litre engine (e.g. 2000 Nisan Patrol) every 10 minutes of idling costs more than a quarter of a litre in wasted fuel or approximately 0.6 kg of carbon dioxide.

FACT: If Canadians avoided idling for just three minutes every day of the year, CO2 emissions could be reduced by 1.4 million tonnes annually, which is the equivalent of taking 320,000 cars off the road for the entire year.

Reference: BC Climate Action Toolkit. 2014. Idle Reduction Bylaw.

To learn more about about idling issues, impacts and additional resources on idling click here

SSCAS Idle Free Reports

SSCAS Idle Report 2013

SSCAS Idle Report 2014