Bill Memo: Curbing Air Pollution
This bill adds a new section to Article 19 of the Environmental Conservation Law to prohibit drivers of passenger vehicles from idling a vehicle for more than three consecutive minutes. The bill contains reasonable exemptions from the prohibition, such as when a vehicle is forced to idle because of traffic conditions or when it is colder than 32° F outside, and for ensuring the safe loading, unloading or transport of persons with disabilities.
This bill reduces harmful air pollution and cuts greenhouse gas emissions by prohibiting drivers from idling passenger vehicles (e.g. cars, SUVs, and light pickup trucks) for more than three consecutive minutes.
Leaving a car engine running when it is parked is bad for the environment and public health. An idling car can release just as much air pollution as a moving car. Motor vehicle exhaust contains harmful air pollutants that make people sick. Life-threatening pollutants like carbon monoxide and particulate matter can trigger asthma attacks and contribute to heart disease and lung cancer. Reducing air pollution from unnecessary vehicle exhaust will improve air quality and reduce risks to public health.
This bill will also help New York State meet its climate pollution reduction goals. New York State has set climate goals to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 85% by 2050. The transportation sector accounts for the largest source of New York’s greenhouse gas emissions. Running your engine for ten minutes releases one pound of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas responsible for climate change. This bill is a step in the right direction because it will reduce our reliance on dirty fossil fuels.
Improved engine technology means that we don’t need to “warm up” our engine before we drive away. Americans waste 3.8 million gallons of gasoline every day due to idling. This bill will be a win-win-win for the environment, public health, and our wallets.
This bill helps New York State continue to show leadership in cutting climate pollution and improving air quality by prohibiting unnecessary idling.
Environmental Advocates NY Bill Rating: Substantial Benefit
Memo #: 3