An idling engine can produce up to twice as many exhaust emissions as an engine in motion. Exhaust emissions contain a range of air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter. These can effect the air quality of the surrounding environment and the air we breathe.
Vehicle idling is an offence against the Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002. The law states that is an offence to idle your engine unnecessarily when stationary. If you fail to turn your engine off after being spoken to you may be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £20.
- You can do your bit by switching off the engine if it looks like you could be waiting for more than a minute or two. Modern cars use virtually no extra fuel when they’re re-started without pressing the accelerator so you won’t waste lots of fuel switching the engine back on.
- Turn off your engine when stationary, for example - on a road at a shop, school, taxi rank and stands, whilst unloading / loading or when parked outside your house.
- Avoid idling whilst waiting in car parks, petrol stations, lay-bys, “set down” and “pick up points”.
It can take up to an hour for an engine to cool down. Turning off your engine, but keeping the ignition and the fan blowing will provide warm air for some time. If you are concerned about passenger comfort, keep the engine idling to an absolute minimum in warm and cold weather.