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Ottawa launches new 'Spare Our Air' anti-idling campaign

The city of Ottawa has launched the #SpareOurAir campaign, informing drivers about the harmful health and environmental impacts of vehicle idling. (City of Ottawa/release) The city of Ottawa has launched the #SpareOurAir campaign, informing drivers about the harmful health and environmental impacts of vehicle idling. (City of Ottawa/release)
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The city of Ottawa has launched a new public education campaign to inform drivers about the harmful health and environmental impacts of vehicle idling.

The new #SpareOurAir campaign also aims to inform motorists that Ottawa has an anti-idling bylaw. That bylaw prohibits drivers from idling their vehicles for more than three minutes when the temperature is between 5 C and 27 C.

Last July, the city said only 10 anti-idling infractions and 33 verbal warnings were issued in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Emergency and Protective Services general manager Kim Ayotte says the campaign is called Spare Our Air, and will highlight three key messages:

  • Idling is harmful to human health
  • Idling is harmful plus wastes money
  • Ottawa has an idling control bylaw

The #SpareOurAir campaign includes a four-week advertising campaign and ads on digital billboards around the city and on screens at various city of Ottawa facilities.

The city offers tips to avoid idling:

  • Always dress for the outdoor temperature, even if you’re doing a quick trip, so you don’t have to idle in case you are delayed
  • Unless it is below – 15 C your vehicle doesn’t need more than 30 seconds to circulate the oil and become fully lubricated and ready to go
  • The city says your vehicle warms up best by driving it, assuming the windshield is defrosted
  • If you’re using a drive-through automated teller, you’ll be there more than 60 seconds so turn off your engine. Likewise, you might turn off the engine when you pull up to a fast-food pickup window
  • Idling for 60 seconds wastes more fuel than stopping and restarting the engine
  • If you have a remote car starter, please use it wisely to avoid excessively long warmups.

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