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Top 8 ways you can be idle free in Utah's inversion season

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Did you know that idling your car for more than 30 seconds is harmful to Utah's air? According to Utah Clean Cities' Idle Free program, idling vehicles in the U.S. consume more than two billion gallons of diesel and gasoline each year. That's a lot of wasted fuel and emissions without even moving your car.

While there are some circumstances where idling is unavoidable, there are a lot of ways drivers can idle less. Here are some simple things you can do to reduce idling:

  1. If your can will be stopped for more than 30 seconds, turn off the engine. When you start your engine, simple turn the key. There's no need to step down on the accelerator.
  2. Rather than waiting in line at a slow drive-through window, stretch your legs and walk inside to get your burger or caffeine fix.
  3. In colder areas, use an engine block heater to warm the engine. This improves fuel efficiency and reduces emissions.
  4. Use remote starters wisely. Don't turn your vehicle on before you are ready to leave.
  5. Track your emissions reductions using UDOT's TravelWise tracker.
  6. Talk to the principal of your child's school about posting anti-idling signs in areas where school buses and parents wait for pick-up and drop-off. Unnecessary idling around schools can aggravate childhood asthma and other respiratory ailments.
  7. If you are in the market for a new car, consider buying a hybrid. The engine shut off when the vehicle is stationary, doing the anti-idling work for you.
  8. Encourage your employer to implement anti-idling policies at the workplace. Research indicates that the average person lets their car idle five to ten minutes a day. That may not seem like much, but a car idling for about two minutes uses the same amount of fuel it takes to drive one mile. Imagine what a positive impact we would have on Utah's air (and our own pocketbooks) if every driver stopped idling, especially during inversions.

UCAIR's Idle-Free Program provides information about idling; including health impacts and calculators that show how much money you could save by idling less. Remember, every action you take to reduce personal emissions, whether big or small matters to Utah's air. Show UCAIR today and commit to being idle free this inversion season.

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