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Reduce vehicle idling this winter

December 9, 2021

The County of Prince Edward is encouraging residents to reduce vehicle idling this winter, especially in moderately cold weather.

The County’s Idling Control By-Law permits idling in temperatures of -5 degrees Celsius or lower; however, any amount of idling at any time of year wastes fuel and money and produces emissions that are harmful to the environment and human health.

Consider these tips to reduce idling, save money and go easy on the environment:

Your vehicle needs only 30 seconds to warm up before driving:

Contrary to popular belief, excessive idling is not an effective way to warm up your vehicle. According to Natural Resources Canada, the best way to warm your car is to drive it. The engine and interior will warm more quickly when the vehicle is in motion. Vehicle technology has changed and today’s computer-controlled engines require much less time to warm up before they are ready to drive.

  • In most cold weather conditions, aim for just 30 seconds of warming before driving away slowly.
  • In very cold weather, limit the amount of time you spend warming your vehicle to no more than 2-3 minutes.
  • Consider eco-friendly tricks for removing ice from your windshield instead of idling. Use a windshield frost guard to prevent the buildup of ice and frost, use a spray of water with vinegar or rubbing alcohol instead of a chemical de-icer spray, or simply use a scraper.

Choose to idle only when necessary:

Idling is common during the winter especially at school drop off and pick up zones, at drive-thru restaurants and in parking spaces during holiday shopping. Most vehicle idling is unnecessary.

  • Be aware of your idling behaviour. Choose to turn the car off more often. Idle only when it is necessary for your safety in cold weather conditions below -5 degrees Celsius.

More information about idling, its harmful effects and the benefits of turning your engine off can be found on The County’s Sustainability Corner on Have Your Say. The public is invited to contribute to the conversation about unnecessary idling in our community. Public feedback will help to shape future anti-idling events and campaigns.

The County has joined more than 50 Ontario municipalities in adopting an Idling Control By-Law to limit unnecessary vehicle idling. The County’s Idling Control By-Law is just one tool the municipality is using to respond to the climate emergency declared by Council in 2019. The by-law limits the amount of time a vehicle can idle to three minutes, with some exceptions, including in weather below -5 degrees Celsius. By-law officers may issue fines of up to $200 to motorists and boaters who leave their engines idling unnecessarily.

For more information, contact the County of Prince Edward at 613.476.2148 ext. 1023, 613.962.9108 ext. 1023, or info@pecounty.on.ca.

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