Published on February 28, 2023

Care About Air and Limit Your Idling in 2023

It’s a little chilly outside and you begin your morning commute by starting your vehicle before heading out for the day. How long do you let it idle before you hit the road? 

Although it’s part of your routine, there’s a way to limit your idling this year and help the environment at the same time by following the City of St. Albert’s Idle Free Bylaw. Simply start by limiting your idling time to three minutes. 

“It’s a change that we can all make to help improve our air quality in the city,” says Payton Homeak, Environment Coordinator for Community, Strategy and Engagement. “Everyone likes a warm vehicle on a winter day and the bylaw does not apply when outside temperatures are above 30 degrees or below -20 degrees. However, just like you and me, cars warm up best when they’re moving so we’re asking residents to take a closer look at their idling habits.” 

Check out this lighthearted video below:

Source: Alberta Airsheds Council

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

  • Turn off your engine if you are stopped for more than 60 seconds  - 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.
  • Maintain your vehicle. 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.
  • Plug in that block heater. 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 degrees, 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.

“According to Natural Resources Canada, if Canadians avoided idling for three minutes every day, the amount of emissions prevented from entering the environment is like taking 320,000 cars off the road,” explains Payton. “We could prevent more than one million tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering our environment over the year.” 

Learn more about the Idle Free Bylaw

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Last edited: March 1, 2023