Idle Reduction

What is idling?

Idling happens when a vehicle's engine is running when the vehicle is not in motion. It is a bad habit that wastes fuel, adds to pollution, and contributes to health problems. 

On average, Canadians idle their vehicle for eight minutes per day. If every Canadian driver reduced idling by just three minutes a day, we would save $630 million in fuel costs and 1.4 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in just one year. (Source: Natural Resources Canada)

Why reduce idling?

  • Idling Gets You Nowhere … and it’s Expensive - Excessive idling not only increases the amount of costly fuel that is burned, it also adds to vehicle costs from wear on:
    • spark plugs
    • the exhaust system
    • the engine

  • Idling Threatens Health - With common valley inversions in Kamloops, idling emissions linger in the airshed, which can make it unhealthy to exercise outdoors and may lead to premature deaths. (Source: Natural Resources Canada)

Particulate matter from vehicle exhaust can intensify numerous health problems, including:

  • lung disease
  • heart disease
  • asthma
  • emphysema
  • Idling Pollutes - Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the principal greenhouse gas linked to climate change. Every litre of gasoline that is burned produces about 2.3 kg of CO2. The bottom line is, the more fuel you use‚ the more CO2 you produce. (Source: NRCAN)

​What you need to know about the bylaw regulating idling.

Council voted on June 26, 2018 to adopt the amended Good Neighbour Bylaw. View the updated bylaw here.

  • The bylaw prohibits all motor vehicles within city boundaries from idling for more than three consecutive minutes.
  • The bylaw is not applied to vehicles in traffic or to motor vehicles that remain motionless because of an emergency, traffic conditions, or mechanical difficulties over which the driver has no control.
  • Bylaw offences related to idling are subject to a $100 fine.
  • The bylaw is a product of the Sustainable Kamloops Plan (2010) and the Airshed Management Plan (2012) to reduce local air pollution and maintain and enhance air quality in Kamloops.

What can you do to reduce idling?

Be more aware of the amount of time you idle. What can you do to make a change?

Talk to your family, friends, and neighbours about the benefits of being idle free. Encourage them to join you in saving money, protecting the environment, and clearing the air we breathe!

Summer Tips
  • Turn off your engine if you think you will be stopped for more than 60 seconds (except in traffic). Fuel savings will offset any potential increased wear caused by restarting your engine.
  • Are you using a drive-thru, picking up someone at school or work, or waiting for a train to go by? Shut off your vehicle! Idling for 10 seconds uses more fuel than restarting your engine.
  • Consider using other ways to get around—public transit, walking, biking, or jogging.



Winter Tips
  • The best way to warm up a vehicle is to drive it.  Most manufacturers recommend driving off gently after about 30 seconds of idling. In fact, the engine will warm up faster when driving.  In cold weather, just be sure your windows are clear before driving away! 
  • If you have a diesel vehicle, consult the owner’s manual for recommended warm-up and cool-down times. Diesel vehicles don’t require as much warm-up time as many people think.
  • Wheel bearings, steering, suspension, transmission, and tires are only warmed when the vehicle is moving. It typically takes at least 5 km of driving to warm up these components.
  • Turn your engine off if you are parked for more than 60 seconds during reasonably warm weather (above -10°C).
  • Avoid using a remote car starter during reasonably warm weather (above ‑10°C).
  • Plug your vehicle in during cold weather to warm the engine before starting it.
    Use an automatic timer to turn on the block heater two hours before you plan to depart.
Idle Myth Busters
Myth - It is better to idle the vehicle because turning the engine off and on wears it out.

Buster! No. Ignitions in modern cars have eliminated this problem. Idling dirties your engine with incomplete combustion, increasing wear and tear.

Myth - When it's cold I need to keep my vehicle and passengers warm. I also need to warm up my engine.

Buster! It can take up to an hour for an engine to cool down. Turning off your engine, but keeping the ignition on and the fan blowing will provide warm air for some time.

Modern engines need no more than 30 seconds to warm up.

Myth - Starting my engine causes more pollution than idling.

Buster! No. Turning off an engine and restarting it after a minute or longer causes less pollution than keeping the engine idling.