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  • Pima DEQ encourages public to idle less for healthy air

    Apr 19, 2018 | Read More News
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    Pima County Department of Environmental Quality is launching an educational program to reduce engine idling throughout our community. Idling emits pollution into the air, wastes gasoline, and causes wear and tear on the vehicle’s cylinders, spark plugs and the exhaust system. idle
    Avoiding engine idling while picking up and dropping off students reduces air pollution on school campuses where children’s vulnerable lungs are at work. PDEQ also suggests reducing the use of drive-thru windows at banks, pharmacies, fast foods and coffee shops.  Parking, turning off the engine and going inside will reduce gasoline use and help keep the air healthy to breathe. PDEQ developed a bookmark, webpage with lots of information and a video, and a “School Pocket Park” information sheet containing ideas to reduce idling.
    Consider the following: 
    • Idling a vehicle just 10 minutes a day can create 340 pounds of air pollution a year
    • Elevated levels of air toxics were found at schools during times when parents were waiting in parking lots for their children
    • Idling 10 seconds or more uses more fuel and emits more greenhouse gases than turning off and restarting the engine
    “Remember the saying ‘idle hands are the devil’s workshop’?” said Beth Gorman, PDEQ Senior Program Manager. “We could say the same for idling vehicles because they contribute to air pollution problems in Pima County,” Gorman said.

    “Just because you can’t see emissions coming out of your vehicle, doesn’t mean the idling engine isn’t polluting the air.” Motor vehicle use is the largest single source of air pollution in Pima County.

    Studies have linked various negative health outcomes in children exposed to vehicle pollution, including reduced lung function; respiratory infection; decreased cognitive performance; reduced language abilities; asthma symptoms; and chronic respiratory symptoms. Adults with lung and heart disease can also experience health effects when air pollution levels are elevated.
    Pima County is on the verge of violating the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s health standard for ground-level ozone and vehicle emissions contribute to the creation of that harmful air pollutant.
    The next time you pick up a child at school or visit the bank, fast food restaurant, or pharmacy, consider parking and walking inside instead of idling your vehicle and avoid using the drive thru, when possible. If we drive less and reduce engine idling, the beneficial impact on air quality and health in our community will be significant.