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Yes, Carol, there is an anti-idling law in Connecticut

Janet Bellamy, Patrice Gillespie, and Susan Eastwood

Did you know??

  • Idling for more than 3 minutes (except in traffic or extreme temperatures) is against the law in Connecticut.

  • Reducing vehicle idling will cut pollution and save you money!


Idling is leaving a vehicle’s engine running while the vehicle is not in motion. We are all sometimes forced to idle in traffic. Otherwise, it is a habit that we can break when we realize it costs money and is harmful to the environment.


Why is idling harmful?

  • Idling increases the amount of exhaust the vehicle puts out. Exhaust contains many kinds of pollutants that are linked to lung diseases like asthma, allergies, heart disease, cancer,  and other health problems. This especially affects children’s developing lungs which are more sensitive than adults.

  • Pollutants from exhaust are linked to ground-level “smog”, acid rain and other environmental problems.  For every 10 minutes your engine is off, you'll prevent one pound of carbon dioxide from being released (carbon dioxide is the primary contributor to global warming).

Yes, Carol, there is an anti-idling law

Here are some interesting facts about idling:

  • Idling for just 30 seconds wastes more fuel than restarting modern engines!  Idling is actually harder on the engine than restarting it is.

  • Idling in cold weather can be harder on the engine—modern vehicles do not need to warm up in temperatures over zero degrees. Warm up your car by driving slowly at first.

  • Idling for one hour burns nearly one gallon of gasoline. Idling your vehicle for just 10 minutes can use as much fuel as it takes to travel 5 miles. 

 Here are some tips to reduce your idling time:

  • Turn your engine off if you will be stopped for more than 30 seconds (this does not include when in traffic or at stoplights).

  • Turn off your engine at drive-through windows or park and go inside.

  • Turn off the engine when waiting for someone in a parking lot or when picking up your children at school.


Communities in Connecticut are acting to reduce idling. Here are some examples of what you can do to help educate your town about the dangers of idling!

Ashford School third grade students have learned how harmful idling is and have put together an instructional video.


The Ashford Clean Energy Task Force had an anti-idling campaign in 2017, which involved educational outreach on the No Idling law and facts about idling. Several signs were placed at the Transfer Station, where many people were in the habit of leaving their vehicles running while they unloaded their trash.

This year, Mrs. Turcotte’s third grade class took on  a real challenge – to educate the school community about the damage that idling our vehicles does to our air and water. The children made a short  video presentation to show to the Board of Education, and they worked with the Administration to put up anti-idling signs around the school. We are proud of the students for their efforts to reduce dangerous emissions and keep our air clean and healthy to breathe! Check out the 3rd Grade presentation to the BOE.

More info at: Ashford Clean Energy Task Force 

Wilton Go Green has been putting the brakes on idling in their community since 2015!

 In July 2015, Wilton Go Green (WGG) proposed a resolution to the Wilton Board of Selectmen to make Wilton a “no idling town”.  This resolution was unanimously adopted. WGG purchased and erected 150 signs around town, and implemented a “Phase 1: Awareness” program in Fall 2015 comprised of school involvement (students and volunteers on pick-up lines, curriculum on idling), implementation of an online pledge, banner at town hall, film (“Idle Threat”) and panel discussion at Wilton Library, etc. 

 “Phase II” began in 2016 and included additional integration into town websites and materials, working with town fleet, drivers ed, etc.  We also templated the program for use by other towns, and planned a Memorial Day “No Idle” float for all the CT Green LEAF schools to participate in.

Currently, the group known as Sustainable Fairfield County (Wilton is a member) is working to advance local No Idling initiatives, and we are encouraging anyone to use the materials that Wilton Go Green has developed over the years.  WGG has placed an order for No Idling car magnets to sell at our Farmer’s Market and other events. 


More info at


For air quality information for children, see U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, AirNow/Kid’s Air 


For other information about energy and idling, see U.S. Department of Energy 



Janet Bellamy, Patrice Gillespie, and Susan Eastwood are anti-idling advocates. Susan Eastwood is also Chapter Chair of Sierra Club Connecticut.

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