Care About Air - Be Idle-Free

The City of St. Albert's Idle-Free Bylaw 16/2007 was first approved in 2008 and updated in 2018 to reduce idling of parked vehicles and help educate residents about how they can impact air quality in their community.

Consider this: if Canadians avoided idling for three minutes every day, we could prevent more than one million tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering our environment over the year. That's like taking 340,000 cars off the road!

St. Albert's Idle-Free Bylaw limits idling of parked vehicles to 3 minutes at any time. This time limit takes into consideration winter temperatures and is based on research from Natural Resources Canada. The bylaw applies to all vehicles, except for;

  • An emergency vehicle is being used for standard operational activities;
  • Emergency vehicles assisting in an emergency activity;
  • Vehicles that require idling to use mechanical or electrical systems;
  • When idling is required to repair or service a vehicle;
  • Armoured vehicles are being loaded, unloaded or guarded;
  • Parked vehicles are loading and unloading passengers; and
  • When outside temperatures above 30°C or below -20°C.

Why Care About Air?

Check out the videos from Alberta Capital Airshed that demonstrate why we should all care about air and be aware of our idling habits.

Ready To Care About Air?

Here are a few things you can do to reduce idling:

  • If you are stopped for more than 60 seconds  - turn your engine off (except in traffic). For example, turn your vehicle off when doing things such as: dropping off or waiting for a passenger, waiting in drive-thru lineups or running into the convenience store or bank.
  • Proper vehicle maintenance is important to fuel efficiency and to reduce harmful emissions. A poorly maintained engine can use up to 15 per cent more energy when idling than a well-maintained engine.
  • Help reduce the impact of cold starts by using a block heater - two hours is more than enough. An automatic timer can be set up to switch on the block heater for two hours before you leave. At -20°C, a block heater plugged in for no more than two hours will improve overall efficiency by as much as 10 per cent and reduce harmful emissions.

Talk to your family, friends and neighbours about the benefits of being idle-free. Encourage them to join you in saving money, protecting the environment and care about the air we breathe!

Sources: Natural Resources Canada 

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Last edited: November 28, 2019