Idle Free Days Are Here Again!

We’ve all experienced the annoying and dangerously unhealthy effects of engine idling. When vehicles are left running while parked they emit, at twice the rate of vehicles in motion, smog-making pollutants like carbon dioxide that damage the air and make us sick.

So why do people idle? Consider the three common myths about idling: 1. Idling for long periods of time is necessary to warm up the engine, 2. Idling is good for the engine, and 3. Shutting off and restarting your vehicle is hard on the engine and uses more gas than idling.

Now consider the realities of idling: 1. No more than 30 seconds of idling is necessary to sufficiently warm up an engine, even on cold days, and only driving properly warms up the transmission and tires, 2. Idling causes extra wear and tear on a vehicle’s engine because engines are designed for motion, not idling, and 3. Ten seconds of idling uses more gas as does turning the vehicle off then on again.

With powerful myths like that it’s no wonder people idle. This year, as part of the Smog Summit, volunteers across the GTA hope to dispel these myths and empower drivers everywhere to simply ‘Turn it off!’ From May 28 until June 18, hundreds of T-shirt sporting Idle Free volunteers will speak with GTA drivers about the economic, health, and environmental hazards of idling, and reward drivers who ‘Turn it Off!’ with windshield decals that will remind them and others not to idle.

This note is courtesy of:

Chris Benjamin, Community Resources Coordinator

Greenest City Environmental Organization

18 Spadina Avenue

Toronto, Ontario

M5V 2H6

To learn more or to sign up to be a volunteer Idle Free Ambassador, call or e-mail Chris Benjamin at 416-922-7626, fax: 416 922-7636 or e-mail .

“What we have here is an insurmountable Opportunity.”–Yogi Berra