Idle Free Utah
The Utah Clean Cities Coalition spearheaded Idle Free in Utah in 2006, with the help of a Department of Energy Educational Grant to develop a School Bus Driver Idle Reduction Curriculum. The curriculum was developed through the joint efforts of Utah Clean Cities, the National Energy Foundation, and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, with the support of the National School Board Association. Get on the Bus for Cleaner Air and Healthier Kids: An Education and Action Project was successfully implemented in Cache Valley, Salt Lake City and Washington County School Districts in 2007.
This message was so well received that by 2008 Idle Free was incorporated into the Bus Driver Training Curriculum across the state. In 2009 Idle Free expanded when UCCC partnered with Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County to kick-off the Idle Free Public Awareness Campaign in partnership with 65 schools. In 2010 the campaign went statewide when Governor Gary R. Herbert declared the month of September Idle Free Awareness Month. Since 2010 over 35 mayors, and 300 schools from across the state have joined in the effort. Overwhelming support from students, teachers, principals, school bus drivers, private businesses, local chambers of commerce, cities and the State of Utah have made Idle Free a success.
The Utah Clean Cities Coalition and its stakeholders have distributed over 20,000 idle free decals and more than 300 outdoor idle free signs. We have greatly enjoyed working with the community to encourage drivers to turn off their vehicles if they are going to be idling for more than 10 seconds. In recent years, it has been very exciting to watch others make Idle Free part of their mission, including numerous cities, schools, businesses and air quality organizations. Utah Clean Cities has also enjoyed working with groups outside the state including other coalitions, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Argonne National Laboratory.
If you are interested in idle free materials, please contact:
2006: Get on the Bus for Cleaner Air Grant Award & Curriculum Development
2007: Get on the Bus for Cleaner Air Pilot Program
AireDock Truck Stop Electrification Bays installed at Sapp Bros.
2008: Idle Free Curriculum incorporated into statewide bus driver training
Salt Lake County passes Idle Free Ordinance for County-owned Vehicles
Kennecott Utah Copper starts an Idle Free Program
2009: Turn Your Key be Idle Free Public Awareness Campaign (Idle Free Awareness Week)
2010: 1st Annual Idle Free Awareness Month
Park City passes an Idle Free Ordinance
West Valley City passes an Idle Free Resolution
2011: Salt Lake City passes an Idle Free Ordinance
Questar Gas Co. starts an Idle Free Program
Summit County passes an Idle Free Resolution
2012: State of Utah announces an Idle Free Resolution for the state fleet
2013: UCCC and Kennecott Utah Copper host the 1st Idle Free Fleets Conference
City of Holladay passes an Idle Free Ordinance
UCAIR Grant Award: Materials & Idle Challenge
2014: UCAIR Grant Award: Idle Free Curriculum for Utah Junior and High Schools
2016: Don't Idle Award to Granite Schools: Click here for video
Turn Your Key, Be Idle Free
Each year, idling vehicles in the U.S. consume more than 6 billion gallons of diesel and gasoline—without even moving. Roughly half of that fuel is wasted by noncommercial passenger vehicles – the millions of individual drivers waiting “just a few minutes” to pick up friends or family, or waiting to move forward in line at a drive-thru. Unnecessary idling not only wastes fuel, but also contributes a significant amount of emissions into the air each day. This is especially concerning in Utah, where the Department of Environmental Quality estimates that vehicle exhaust accounts for more than 50% of the air pollution in our state. With many areas of the state in non-attainment for the national air quality standards, poor air quality has become a significant public health concern.
Turning you key when stopped for more than 10-30 seconds is a small change with big returns:
Not idling saves money
It is estimated that the average driver idles his or her vehicle for 10 minutes each day. Considering, an idling car wastes between 0.2 - 0.6 gallon per hour, drivers all across America are consuming significant amounts of fuel (that they have paid for) to go nowhere. Over time this translates to considerable fuel costs and engine wear.
Not idling reduces pollution
When a vehicle is idling, it continues to release emissions into the air. Additionally, when a vehicle is not moving, more pollutants are able to enter the cab.
Not idling supports public health
Tailpipe emissions contribute to Particulate Matter (PM2.5) in the air, and the formation of ground‐level ozone. These pollutants aggravate respiratory and cardiovascular problems, especially in children who take more air into their lungs per minute than adults.
Additionally, in many areas in the state and across the nation idling your vehicle is against the law. However, your safety and the safety of your passengers is always the number one priority. Please use your best judgment when weather conditions are extreme and never turn off your vehicle in traffic.
The engine should be warmed up before driving.
Idling is not an effective way to warm up your vehicle, even in cold weather. The best way to do this is to drive the vehicle. With today's modern engines, you need no more than 30 seconds of idling on winter days before driving away.
Idling is good for your engine.
Excessive idling can actually damage your engine components, including cylinders, spark plugs, and exhaust systems. Fuel is only partially combusted when idling because an engine does not operate at its peak temperature. This leads to the build up of fuel residues on cylinder walls that can damage engine components and increase fuel consumption.
Shutting off and restarting your vehicle is hard on the engine and uses more gas than if you leave it running.
Frequent restarting has little impact on engine components like the battery and the starter motor. Component wear caused by restarting the engine is estimated to add $10 per year to the cost of driving, money that will likely be recovered several times over in fuel savings from reduced idling. The bottom line is that more than ten seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting the engine.
- Use common sense - driver and passenger safety is the number one priority
- Park your car and put those legs to work rather than sitting in drive-thrus.
- Never turn your vehicle off in traffic unless experiencing a long delay where it is safe to do so.
- The best way to warm up your car is to drive it - Newer vehicles need no more than 30 seconds of idling time in cold temperatures.
- For temperatures below 5° Fahrenheit, use an engine block heater to warm the engine. This improves fuel efficiency and reduces emissions.
- Use remote starters wisely. Don't turn your vehicle on before you are ready to leave
- Consider anti-idling technologies if you need onboard auxiliary power.
Idle Free Toolkit
- Idle Free Utah Logo
- Idle Free Utah Poster (11" x 17")
English | En Espanol
- Idle Free Facts
- Idle Free Brochure
- Idle Free Pledge
- 2015 Idle Declaration
- Superintendent Letter
Alternative Fuels Data Center - Idle Reduction
Argonne National Lab
Environmental Protection Agency
National Idling Reduction Network News
California Energy Center's Idling Myths Page
Natural Resources Canada Idle Reduction Facts Page
Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR)
Salt Lake Business Chamber - Clean Air Champion Best Practices
Salt Lake City Idle Free Ordinance
Truck Stop Electrification