garfield county fleet cars

Garfield County idling policy

New county policy sets idling standard

April 26, 2013

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – Garfield County has a new vehicle idling policy that requires county fleet vehicle drivers to turn their engines off when they are stopped for more than 30 seconds. The Garfield County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) unanimously approved the policy on April 15.

“We want to serve as a role model to other government and industry fleets in the area,” BOCC chair John Martin said. “We will turn our vehicles off and breathe clean air.”

The Environmental Protection Agency reports that motor vehicles are responsible for nearly half of smog-forming volatile organic compounds, more than half of the nitrogen oxide emissions, and about half of the toxic air pollutant emissions in the United States. In addition, vehicles account for 75% of carbon monoxide emissions nationwide.

“This policy is part of a larger effort to reduce all vehicle idling,” said Morgan Hill, environmental health specialist with Garfield County Public Health (GCPH). “We’re also in the process of placing reflective signs in the parking lots of all county buildings. The signs will suggest people turn their engines off when their vehicles aren’t moving.” GCPH is making the push for reduced idling because vehicle exhaust is linked to a number of poor health outcomes including asthma, lung damage, and cancer.

“If drivers take the simple step of turning engines off when parked, we can reduce vehicle emissions greatly,” Hill added. Additional things that drivers can do to reduce vehicle emissions include:

  • Remembering that idling burns more fuel than turning an engine off and restarting it. The best way to warm a car or pickup truck is to drive it.
  • Filling up gas tanks in the morning or after 6 pm, to avoid the heat of the day.
  • Taking care not to spill fuel and avoid topping off tanks.
  • Keeping engines tuned and tires properly inflated.
  • Trying not to carry around extra weight in the car.

April 29-May 3, 2013 is National Air Quality Awareness Week, and an opportunity to find out more about ways to improve the air you breathe. This information, along with real-time Garfield County air monitoring data is available at: Additional EPA information on vehicle exhaust is available online.