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You're the Key to Being Idle Free

Don't Idle Your Engine - Shut It Off!

Idling and Why it is a Problem

Idling is running a gasoline- or diesel-powered engine when the vehicle is parked and not moving. Sometimes idling is unavoidable, but why waste fuel and pollute the air with unnecessary exhaust? So, turn off that key and be idle-free to protect public health and our environment.

Health Effects of Idling

Keeping the engine of a parked car running increases the exhaust levels around the car and increases people's exposure to harmful pollutants, if they are nearby. Vehicle exhaust contains pollutants that mainly affect the heart and lungs, but can also affect other organs. Health problems that may result from exposure to pollutants in exhaust range from small changes in health that are hard to detect, to fatal heart attacks, as well as a range of respiratory effects and lung cancer. Everyone near an idling vehicle is at risk, but young children and people with existing heart or lung disease are more vulnerable to the effects of exhaust.

To make our air healthier to breathe, Shut it off!

Environmental Effects of Idling

Exhaust from idling vehicles also damages the environment around us. Carbon dioxide exhaust is a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Nitrogen and sulfur oxides from exhaust contribute to acid rain and ozone formation (leaves DEC website). Acid rain can damage and even kill plants, aquatic animals, and fish. Ozone can damage the leaves of plants, trees, and crops and is dangerous for people and animals to breathe. To avoid negative impacts on our environment, Shut it off!

What You Can Do

Shutting your engine off stops exhaust from being made. Don't idle, especially near places with people who may be more sensitive to exhaust, including daycares, schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. Minimize remote car starter use and warm up your car by driving instead of idling.

Shut it off...

  • At the bank teller's window,
  • At the ATM,
  • At the drive-through window,
  • In the pick up/drop off line at school,
  • While stopped at a train crossing,
  • For a quick trip into the convenience store,
  • After ten seconds of idling or waiting, except in traffic,
  • To save fuel and money,
  • To reduce noise,
  • To keep the air cleaner for people, animals, and the environment.

Idling Regulations

Here are some of the rules and regulations that help to reduce idling in NYS and protect our air and environment:

  • Statewide Idling Law - Subpart 217-3 (leaves DEC website) prohibits idling for more than five minutes for heavy duty vehicles of more than 8,500 lbs., with limited exceptions. The idling regulation is enforced by DEC Conservation Officers. Fines range from $500 to $18,000 in the case of a first violation.
  • NYC area regulations (leaves DEC website) - No idling for more than three minutes for all vehicles or one minute outside a school.
  • Other regional or local laws may apply.

Follow the rules and Shut it off, NY! You're the key to being idle free!

Additional Information


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  • NYSDEC
    Division of Air Resources
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-3258
    518-402-8401
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