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Clean Cities Top 20 Facts

An idling vehicle gets 0 mpg

Idle reduction has been one of Clean Cities’ key strategies for cutting petroleum use since 2004. Reducing vehicle idling has immense potential for serious emissions benefits and cost savings: Every year, vehicle idling in the United States consumes more than 6 billion gallons of fuel at a cost of more than $20 billion.

Clean Cities coalitions have helped their stakeholders reduce idling through various approaches, from obtaining funding for school bus heaters, to partnering with government agencies and businesses to establish truck stop electrification sites, to helping set idle-reduction policies.

This work is paying off. In 2012, Clean Cities stakeholders’ idle-reduction initiatives saved 31 million gasoline gallon equivalents (GGEs). This reduction corresponds to nearly 400,000 tons of GHG emissions averted.

Did you know? Depending on vehicle size and other factors, an idling vehicle can consume more than a gallon of fuel per hour. And even short stops can waste fuel. In a studyPDF by Argonne National Laboratory involving a 2011 Ford Focus, investigators compared fuel use and emissions for idling versus stopping and restarting the engine. Researchers found that, for idling episodes of 10 seconds or longer, fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions were higher than if the engine was stopped and then restarted.

Did you know? Clean Cities has several resources to help fleets reduce idling:

  • Recently launched, IdleBox is a modular, electronic toolkit that helps fleets implement idle-reduction projects. Among the tools is IdleBase (find it under “Information Resources” on the IdleBox page), a database of state and municipal idling laws and ordinances affecting all classes of on-road vehicles.
  • The U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office publishes a free monthly newsletter, National Idling Reduction Network News. Visit this page to see past issues and subscribe.
  • The Truck Stop Electrification Locator is an online tool that allows drivers and fleet managers to locate truck stops with electrified parking spaces so they can run climate control systems and appliances without idling the engine.
  • See Clean Cities success stories covering idle reduction projects in Idaho and New Jersey.

Interested in learning how your organization can benefit from idle reduction? Contact your Clean Cities coordinator or send a message to

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  • Argonne National Laboratory
  • For more information:
  • Clean Cities Technical Response Service Team
  • 800-254-6735