Idle Free Zone campaign

Why avoid idling? (And what is it?)

Idling is running your engine when you're not driving, such as waiting to pick up a family member, warming up a car in a driveway, or sitting at a drive-thru (coffee stand, fast-food or bank).
  • Idling causes local air pollution, which is especially harmful to young, developing lungs
  • It emits greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change
  • It wastes money - "idling gets you nowhere!"
  • Contrary to common belief, it's actually better for your engine to turn it off and on again rather than idling, if you'll be waiting for more than 10 seconds. 

Our first large, multi-phase community outreach campaign is an effort to encourage drivers to limit unnecessary idling. We're so fortunate in our valley to have four beautiful seasons - and during at least two of them, there's no need to idle your car!

Our campaign, which launched in spring of 2021, will continue each spring and fall. Our pilot includes preschools, daycares and private schools, and engages students to educate their parents on the dangers of idling. Even young students can participate by collecting data by counting how many minutes they see cars idling at pick-up time. Then they educate their parents on why they should turn off their engines while they're waiting (for cleaner air, healthier lungs, and to save money) and can have parents sign a pledge. Then the kids can observe again and see if they made a difference!

This program is sponsored by Columbia Valley Community Health and Confluence Health. For more information on idling, read this from the Department of Energy


Want to give involved?

We are currently looking for more locations to partner with. We provide temporary and/or permanent signage, educational materials for drivers (parents or customers) and can offer presentations as well. Email Jana at hello[at] if you'd like to get involved! 

Pilot participants: TEAMS Learning Center, Seeds Learning Center, The Learning Well, Joyful Scholars Montessori, and the Town Toyota Center Covid-19 mass vaccination site. 

Idle Free Zones