Bill Memo: Curbing Air Pollution

2 Tree: Substantial benefit rating

Summary

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 ensure the safe loading, unloading or transport of persons with disabilities.

Explanation

This bill reduces harmful air pollution and cuts greenhouse gas emission by prohibiting drivers from idling passenger vehicles (such as cars, SUVs and light-duty 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 for 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 greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent 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 the emissions of dirty fossil fuels.

Improved engine technology means that we don’t need to “warm up” the engine before we drive away. Americans waste 3.8 million gallons of gasoline everyday due to idling. This bill will be a 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.

Download PDF

Environmental Advocates NY Bill Rating: Substantial Benefit

Memo #: