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Idle-Free Zone
Provided by: Natural Resources Canada
Part 1 - Understanding the Issues
• Idling Behaviour
• Idling Emissions and Related impacts
• Idling Myths
Part 2 – Taking Action
• Individuals, businesses, municipalities, community
organizations, schools
Part 3 - Summary
Vehicle Use in Canada
• The transportation sector is responsible for 27 percent of
GHG emissions in Canada
• 19 million light-duty vehicles on the road
• Almost one vehicle for every two Canadians
• More than 300 billion kilometres driven per year
• Poor decisions and bad habits contribute to fuel waste
Why Do Canadians Idle?
Most common reasons for idling in summer
and winter:
• Doing an errand
• Stopping to talk to an acquaintance or friend
• Using restaurant drive-throughs or stopping for
take-out food
• Waiting to get gas
• Stopping to use a cellular phone
• Warming up a vehicle
• Waiting for someone
How Much Do Canadians Idle?
• Eight minutes a day in the peak of winter
• 75 million minutes of idling per day nationally
• Reduced idling in the summer – 46 million
minutes per day
Why Idling is a Problem
Unecessary vehicle idling:
• Wastes a lot of fuel – and money
• Depletes a valuable non-renewable resource
• Needlessly increases GHGs that contribute to
climate change
• Savings potential of $630 million per year
Impacts of Climate Change
• Increasing levels of GHGs are trapping heat in the
• Global warming triggers changes in climate
• GHG emissions can magnify the effects of air pollution
• Affects air quality and health
• We can all take steps to reduce GHGs
Impact of Idling on Emissions
Scenario 1
No Idling
Scenario 2
Start engine
Elevated CACs + GHGs
Start engine
Elevated CACs + GHGs
No Idling
Turn engine off
No CACs, No GHGs
Start engine
Briefly elevated CACs + GHGs
Engine idling
Engine idling
• No substantial difference in CACs between scenarios 1 and 2
• Scenario 1 always generates less GHGs than scenario 2
Dispelling the Myths
Idling Myth #1– The Engine should be warmed Up
Before Driving
In reality:
• Excessive idling is not a good way to warm up a vehicle
• The best way to warm up an engine is to drive it
• 60 seconds of idling is enough warm-up time
Dispelling the Myths
Idling Myth #2 – Shutting Off and Restarting Your
Vehicle is Costly because it is Hard on the Starter
and Battery
In reality:
• Fuel costs savings offset wear and tear on the battery and
starter after 60 seconds
• 10-plus seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting
the engine
Available Resources
• Check out the Idle-Free Zone Web site –
• Online resources can help you build a campaign
• Facts and figures, ready-to-use graphics, survey tools and
• Find out how other communities are taking action
Five-Step Action Plan
Practice the easy Five-Step Action Plan:
1) Avoid unnecessary idling – if parked for more than 60
seconds, turn off the engine
2) Reduce warm-up idling – 60 seconds is enough (provided
windows are defrosted)
3) Use a remote car starter only 60 seconds before you leave
4) Use a block heater to pre-warm the engine in winter
5) Become an advocate in your home, neighbourhood,
school or workplace
What Individuals Can Do
to Take Action
• Get informed – visit the Idle-Free Zone at
• Contact municipal and school officials and local mall
• Recommend an idling campaign to your community
What Businesses Can Do
to Take Action at the Workplace
• Organize a workplace idle-free campaign
• Create “idle-free zones” in drop-off/pick-up spots and
loading docks
• Implement in-house practices and policies to reduce
• See what other businesses are doing –
• Support local initiatives
What Municipal Governments
Can Do to Take Action
Familiarize yourself with the issues
Research what is being done elsewhere
Investigate the scope of the problem - “idling hot spots”
Look at your operations – adopt best practices
Consider a mix of initiatives (outreach, by-laws)
Partner with others
Use free on-line resources to build a campaign
What Community Groups
Can Do to Take Action
• Collaborate with municipalities and others to reduce
• Gather the facts by surveying and monitoring
• Organize events
• Launch community awareness and public outreach
What Schools
Can Do to Take Action
Remember the rule – No Idling at School!
Ask for a commitment
Create a “No Idling Zone”
Monitor results
Make it part of the curriculum
Learn more and visit The Idle Free Zone section for
Unnecessary Idling:
Wastes fuel and money
Depletes a non-renewable resource
Contributes to climate change
Progress is being made but more action is required
Individual actions make a difference
For More Information
• Visit the Idle Free Zone Web site at
• Insert your own Web address
Insert Image of Choice or Logo