Ottawa, Ontario Anti-Idling Program

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Ottawa, Canada

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Type: Program

Status: Ongoing

Source File:


For our health...
For our climate...
Let's stop idling in its tracks!

Leaving a vehicle idling - it's something we often do without thinking about it. Sometimes you can't avoid it, such as while waiting at a traffic light or when caught in bumper-to-bumper traffic. But many times you can!

Cutting down on idling reduces greenhouse gas emissions while also saving fuel costs. It's the smart thing to do, for our City and for our environment!

Did you know that...

  • Ten seconds of idling uses more gas than restarting an engine.
  • $680 million of fuel is idled away by Canadians annually.

Find out about common idling myths

It's about our health!

  • Car, truck and bus emissions are the single largest source of smog-causing pollutants in Ontario.
  • Children are particularly vulnerable to air pollution, because they inhale more air per pound of body weight.
  • Exposure to most auto pollutants is much higher inside a vehicle, than at the roadside.
  • Every year, 16,000 Canadians die prematurely from air pollution.

It's about our environment!

  • Climate change is caused by greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases are mostly generated by burning fossil fuels.
  • Industrialized nations have produced almost all the greenhouse gases now present in the atmosphere - and their emissions continue to grow.
  • We can stabilize our climate by acting now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Cutting down on idling vehicles is a great place to begin!

It's about saving money!

  • Ten seconds of idling uses more gas than restarting an engine.
  • $680 million of fuel is idled away by Canadians annually.
  • Reduced idling by 5 minutes a day saves you over $100 per year.

Excessive idling is harmful to your engine and can actually damage major components such as cylinders and the exhaust system.

By taking the following 5 simple steps, you can help make our City smarter, healthier and greener.

1. Reduce warm-up idling - start driving after no more than 30 seconds of idling because excessive idling is not good for your engine.

2. Turn it off after 10 seconds - turn your engine off if you are going to be stopped for more than 10 seconds, except in traffic.

3. Minimize use of remote car starters - these devices encourage you to start your vehicle before you are ready to leave, which means wasteful idling.

4. Use a block heater - in temperatures below 0°C, use this device to warm up the engine before starting your vehicle. This will improve fuel efficiency and reduce exhaust emissions.

5. Spread the word!

The City runs anti-idling campaigns occasionally. Fact sheets, and school kits are available.