Idling Reduction Campaign

The City of Fitchburg embarked on an Idling Reduction Campaign in 2012 to encourage all residents to reduce their voluntary idling; idling when a vehicle is not actually being driven such as waiting in drive-thru lanes, waiting to pick up or drop off passengers / packages and warming up the engine. In addition to wasting fuel, voluntary idling is a significant and easily reduced source of pollution. Vehicle idling impacts air quality, climate change, health, and your pocket book!

Effects of Idling

When an engine idles, it is not running at optimum operating temperature, resulting in incomplete combustion which in turn results in more air pollution. Americans waste approximately 3.8 million gallons of gasoline each day by voluntarily idling their cars. For every gallon of gasoline used, a vehicle emits, on average, 20 pounds of CO2. That translates to 13 million tons of CO2 annually from voluntary idling!1 (Diesel engines emit 15% more CO2/gallon than gasoline engines.) Other pollutants from vehicle exhaust include carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, which combine with nitrogen oxides and sunlight to form ground-level ozone, a major component of smog. These pollutants linger in the environment and lead to long-term health impairment, as well as environmental damage.

Studies have shown that idling for over 10 seconds uses more gasoline and produces more CO2 emissions than restarting your engine. In addition, idling causes excessive engine wear. If it looks like you’ll be idling for longer than 10 seconds (30 seconds for diesel), please turn off your engine and restart it when you're ready to drive.

1"Anti-Idling Primer; Every Second Counts" by Hal Hinkle, Patricia Deacon & Kasia Duda Hinkle Charitable Foundation


Awareness Efforts

Signs on municipal property remind visitors to turn off their vehicle if they are going to be waiting more than 10 seconds. In addition, members of the Resource Conservation Commission have been contacting Fitchburg businesses to request their participation. Participating businesses are given idling reduction posters made by Leopold Elementary students to display as well as an informational brochure to hand out. Outdoor metal signs are also available and perfect for any parking lot, drop off, or drive through location.

Participating Businesses

  • Summit Credit Union
  • Oak Bank
  • U.S. Bank
  • BMO Harris, Jamestown Branch
  • The UPS Store
  • Ganshert Nursery and Landscapes, LLC
  • Top Hat Fireplace and Chimney
  • Independent Living, Inc.

Join the Campaign

Reducing voluntary idling is an easy way to save money and increase miles per gallon. Remember, idling gets 0 miles per gallon! So please, join in the campaign; if you'll be idling for more than 10 seconds, turn off your engine and restart it when you're ready to move.

Additional Resources