Drivers, Stop Your Engines!

Oakland, CA — All around the country and the world, cities are organizing to educate citizens about changing their idling habits. Here at home, one citizen wants to make Oakland the west coast leader in this effective movement to save gas and money, improve air quality, and reduce CO2 emissions. She started a website called Idle Free Oakland, at

Idle Free Oakland educates drivers on myths and facts of idling with a short online quiz called the Tender Tailpipe Test. Pass the test — or just learn from it — and you’re invited to take the Pause & Park-it Pledge, promising to cut your engine whenever you’ll be stopped in safe situation for a while. Things you’ll learn by visiting the site include the mind-boggling fact that it only takes ten seconds worth of gas to start a warm engine (30 seconds for trucks and SUVs), and that idling only five fewer minutes in a day will save 10 gallons, $30 dollars, and 220 lbs of CO2 from hitting the atmosphere per year.

The goal of the website is to inspire and educate as many citizens as possible to change their driving habits, since climate change is such an urgent issue. If 1000 people took the pledge, Oakland would keep a hundred tons of carbon out of the atmosphere; a small drop in the great bucket but an immediate one.

California already has anti-idling laws that prohibit idling for over five minutes, with a minimum fine of $300. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Smartway and DriveWise programs recommend turning your engine off if you’re stopped for more than 30 seconds. And all over the world, parents are creating idle-free zones around schools to protect children from the pollution that is the leading cause of athsma.

Idle Free Oakland also provides sources for anti-idling campaigns around schools and businesses and links to companies that provide mechanical solutions, as well as stickers and banners that can be customized and mass-produced for community projects by local green businesses. If you take the pledge, you can also get free cards to hand out to idling drivers, to help spread the word.

All Oaklanders are invited to join this movement about not moving. Contact to volunteer.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s