car exkaust

Action: Don’t let your engine idle

Drivers: turn off your engine at a standstill

We did mention this in an earlier action about driving like a professional, but it’s worth a mention on its own as it so easy to do, and saves fuel, pollution, greenhouse gases, money and stress.

It’s simple – if you are at traffic lights, or in a traffic queue, and you are going to be static for more than 30 seconds or so, turn off your engine. Many modern cars will have this function automated, but if your car doesn’t have this feature, just turn the key.


It is a myth that turning your engine on and off in a queue does it harm – that is simply not true. There is, quite frankly, absolutely no reason to be burning fuel and money to go nowhere. Even in icy cold weather, the accumulated heat in your engine block will keep the car’s heater working for several minutes.

Why is this important?

car exhaust

We need to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels and the associated emissions of greenhouse gases – mainly carbon dioxide and methane – if we are to have any chance at all of limiting global warming to a level that is manageable. We are already seeing devastating impacts around the world and we will still be making and buying petrol and diesel cars for another ten years at least.

Turning the engine off might not sound like much, but there are tens of millions of cars on our roads, so the cumulative affect of us all changing our habits a little could be significant.

Benefits of taking this simple. easy action

Not letting your engine idle and so burn fuel unnecessarily will:

  • reduce your overall fuel consumption
  • reduce your fuel bills
  • reduce wear on your vehicle
  • reduce emissions of carbon dioxide
  • reduce emissions of other pollutants – gases and particulates
  • reduce traffic noise in our urban areas in particular
  • give you a few quiet moments to de-stress on the roads
  • contribute to calmer, more civilised road use

Take action

If you are a driver, please get into the habit of switching off.

Also, please have a look at our earlier article on driving like a professional.

And finally, if you haven’t done so already, please sign up to our bulletin “Take Action” using the form below.

Thank you for your support.

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