Don't Idle Your Vehicle Engine

If you stop for more than 10 seconds, except in traffic, turn off your engine. Unnecessary idling wastes money and fuel, and produces greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

Why do drivers idle?

Warming up or cooling down a vehicle is the most common reason given for idling‚ in the winter and summer. Surveys show that Canadians also idle their vehicles for many other reasons that include:

  • waiting for passengers
  • waiting to park
  • running quick errands
  • sitting in drive-through lanes
  • sitting in the driveway checking Facebook or texting
  • waiting to refuel or to have the car washed
  • stopping to talk to an acquaintance or friend
  • preparing to leave the house

Isn't it easier on a vehicle's starter to let an engine idle?

If you are stopped for more than 60 seconds, except while in traffic, turn off your engine. It has minimal impact on the starter system, and idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel than it takes to restart your vehicle. If fact, the break-even point to offset any potential incremental maintenance costs due to wear and tear on the starter and battery is under 60 seconds.

Doesn't it use less fuel to keep an engine running than restarting it for short stops?

It takes only 10 seconds of idling before you use less gas by turning off the engine and restarting

What difference will it make?

Individual actions, when taken by thousands of Islanders and millions of Canadians, can make a big difference. And just like putting on your seatbelt, turning off the car sets a good example for your passengers and kids.

Turning off your engine is the "right thing to do".

For more information, visit the Idle-Free Zone
Published date: 
May 15, 2018
Environment, Energy and Climate Action

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Department of Environment, Energy and Climate Action
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