Stop Idling, It's the Law

Why should we stop idling?

Anti-idling logo

If you knew that you could personally reduce air pollution by four to five pounds a month without spending any money or any additional physical effort, would you do it? Let’s put the question a different way: Would you like to know how to save on your gas consumption every day that you drive by doing nothing?

Most of us would like to improve the air we breathe and save money at the same time. The good news is that each one of us can reap both benefits by simply turning off our car when it is not moving rather than letting it idle.

In order to reap the most benefits from drivers not idling their cars, the City of Newark passed an ordinance prohibiting the idling of motor vehicles. Now, there is one more reason to turn the key on idling.

Idling Wastes Money

  • If you allow your vehicle to idle, you might as well throw money out the window since you are getting
  • 0 miles per gallon of gas.
  • Two minutes of idling uses the same amount of gas as 1 mile of driving.*
  • Thirty seconds of idling can use more gas than stopping your car and then restarting it.
  • An idling car is not operating at full capacity which can lead to repairs and lower engine performance.
*Consumer Energy Center

It’s Against the Law

  • Idling a vehicle engine for more than five consecutive minutes in a 60 minute period is prohibited in Newark.
  • The penalty for a first offense for idling is a warning ticket.
  • The penalty for any additional offense is a $100 fine.

Idling Creates Pollution

  • Idling releases toxic emissions into the air (nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide).
  • One car idling while dropping off and picking up a child at school each day adds about three pounds of pollution to the air each month.
  • An hour of idling releases nearly four pounds of carbon dioxide into the air. Carbon dioxide emissions contribute to global warming.

Idling Affects Everyone’s Health

Like driving a vehicle, idling releases pollutants that can cause many types of health problems, especially for children.
Because children are usually outdoors more than adults, and exercising more vigorously, they are more vulnerable to air pollutants.
Particulates in the air, alone, can contribute to lung and heart diseases, aggravate asthma and cause coughing and difficult breathing.
Carbon monoxide aggravates heart disease, and can cause visual problems and headaches.

Instead of Idling

  • Turn off your car.
  • Wait inside a building instead of in your car to keep warm or cool.
  • Don’t use a remote starter.
  • Warm up your car by driving it.
  • Take the bus or ride a bike.
  • Instead of using drive-through windows go inside the building

Exceptions to Idling law

There are certain exceptions to the anti-idling law: when the temperature is below -10, or when the occupants include children or older adults and the temperature is between -10 and 32 degrees F. A few other exceptions for special circumstances are provided for.

For information on the ordinance it can be viewed in the Municipal Code.

Note: Newark’s anti-idling public outreach campaign is being funded by a grant from the DNREC Greenhouse Gas Reduction Project Fund as part of Delaware’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and C02 Emission Trading Program. The outreach campaign was initiated and is coordinated by the Newark Conservation Advisory Commission, an advisory group to the Newark City Council.