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Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : News : City of Newark kicks off anti-idling campaign for better air quality, health and savings benefits

DNREC News Header Graphic
Newark High School Principal Curtis Bedford, Newark Mayor
Vance Funk, Christina School District Superintendent Dr. Freeman
Williams, DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara, EPA Region III
Administrator Shawn Garvin, and Newark Conservation Advisory
Commission Chair Tom Fruehstorfer with one of the new
anti-idling signs at the school. DNREC photo.

Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902. 

City of Newark kicks off
anti-idling campaign
City officials, DNREC Secretary O’Mara laud air quality, health, savings benefits

NEWARK (Jan. 30, 2013) – Federal, state, city and school officials gathered this morning at Newark High School to kick off a citywide anti-idling awareness campaign for cleaner air, better health and savings at the gas pump. 

Newark Mayor Vance Funk was joined by DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara, U.S. EPA Region III Administrator Shawn M. Garvin, Christina School District Superintendent Dr. Freeman Williams, Deborah Brown, president and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic, and other officials to announce the campaign, which was created to promote awareness of Newark’s anti-idling ordinance. Passed in 2009, the ordinance restricts idling of personal motor vehicles within city limits. 

“By promoting energy efficiency, clean energy, low-emission vehicles, interconnected trails, and today's idling ordinance, Newark is emerging as a statewide leader in ensuring clean air and saving money for its residents,” said DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara. “I congratulate the Newark City Council, the Newark Conservation Advisory Commission, and city officials for being the first to adopt an ordinance that will improve air quality and public health by reducing emissions from idling personal vehicles, commercial trucks, and buses.” 

The Newark Conservation Advisory Commission, an advisory group to the Newark City Council, designed and coordinated Newark’s Anti-Idling Campaign, with a $15,000 grant through DNREC’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Projects Fund. In addition to signage posted, the grant covers public service announcements, advertising and video, design and production of audio and visual displays, and brochures, flyers and mailers to promote the campaign. 

“Passing the anti-idling ordinance was part of the city’s efforts to reduce our carbon footprint and make a positive impact on air quality,” said Newark Mayor Vance Funk. “Now, with this outreach campaign, the Newark driving public can learn about the anti-idling law, why it’s important, and how each of us can make a difference.” 

To kick off the campaign, the City of Newark introduced its new “Stop Idling – It’s the Law” signage, with 11 signs newly posted where students are dropped off and picked up at the high school. More than 300 of the signs will be placed in strategic locations throughout the city to remind drivers not to leave their engines running while parked. 

“The Commission’s goal in this outreach campaign is to influence Newark drivers to eliminate daily idling. If as few as a quarter of Newark drivers would simply turn off their engines just half the time, we could potentially reduce carbon emissions by at least 1.7 to 2.6 million pounds per year,” said Thomas Fruehstorfer, chair of the Newark Conservation Advisory Commission. “Besides breathing cleaner air, drivers will enjoy the added benefit of wasting less gas while reducing fuel consumption and costs.”

Warming up a vehicle is the most common reason given for idling. Many drivers also have become accustomed to idling cars in the morning, at the ATM, at the drive-thru for lunch, when picking up children from school, while using a cell phone, or while waiting to pump gas.

Research indicates that the average driver idles their car for 10 minutes a day, using about 0.026 gallons of gasoline at a cost of 5 cents, and producing about 9.5 ounces of carbon dioxide, or approximately 1,252 pounds per driver per year. Two minutes of idling uses the same amount of gas as 1 mile of driving. Idling releases toxic emissions into the air, including nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, particulates, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.

“Idling engines emit pollutants that can cause or aggravate a variety of health problems including asthma,” said EPA's Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “Because of the environmental leadership by Mayor Funk, Council and the Conservation Advisory Commission, school children, drivers and bystanders will benefit immensely from the anti-idling initiatives being implemented.”

“Diesel and gas emissions create particle pollution which is made up of highly transportable microscopic pieces of debris. Once these particles are released into the air, we breathe them in and they lodge deep inside our lungs,” said Deb Brown, president and CEO of the American Lung Association of the Mid Atlantic. “These air pollutants can contribute to serious lung disease like cancer, asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), coughing and difficulty breathing, heart disease, headaches and visual problems, among other health issues. Children are especially vulnerable to air pollutants because they are outdoors more often than adults and exercise more vigorously.”

“The Christina School District is pleased to partner with DNREC and the City of Newark on this collaborative project to reduce pollution and improve the health of our citizens, especially our children and young adults,” said Christina School District Superintendent Dr. Freeman Williams. “With Newark High School as a backdrop, we are reminded of the positive impact cleaner air can have on our communities, and this is one more way we can encourage wellness and safety for our students.”

Just one car idling while dropping off and picking up a child at school each day harms air quality by adding about 3 pounds of pollution to the air each month. One driver can also improve air quality by changing their idling habit. By consistently turning off the engine when parked and restarting it when ready to move, a driver can reduce air pollution by four to five pounds per month – and save money on gasoline at the same time.

“For every dollar we’ve spent installing new pollution controls and cleaning up our air, we’ve seen $30 returned in reduced health care costs and better workplace productivity, not to mention the thousands of saved lives,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper. “This anti-idling campaign is another stake in the ground in obtaining cleaner air and healthier lives for Delawareans and those in our neighboring states.”

“Cleaning up the air we breathe will ensure that our children and grandchildren can live active and healthy lifestyles,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, a member of the Senate & Natural Resources Committee. “Newark’s anti-idling campaign will have a positive impact on the air quality in Newark, and it will also draw much-needed attention to the promotion of clean energy, energy efficiency and air quality. I commend those who have made this anti-idling campaign a reality, and I encourage drivers to take advantage of the difference they can make with the turn of a key.”

“I applaud the City of Newark for raising awareness of the impact that idling has on the air we breathe,” said U.S. Congressman John Carney. “Many drivers idle their vehicles out of habit without realizing the negative effects it has on Delawareans’ health and the environment. Small changes can make a big difference in the amount of toxins released into the air, and I’m glad that Newark is taking a lead in this effort.”

 Newark’s anti-idling ordinance prohibits idling a vehicle engine for more than 5 consecutive minutes in a 60-minute period. The penalty for a first offense is a warning; any additional offense carries a $100 fine. There are exceptions to the ordinance which apply to emergency vehicles and vehicles with elderly and infant occupants.

For more information on Newark’s anti-idling ordinance and campaign, visit To read the ordinance, visit and search for Newark, DE, Chapter 20, Article 29. To watch the City of Newark’s anti-idling video, visit 

Last year, the city received a $50,000 grant, also from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Projects Fund, to cover the cost premiums on purchasing replacement hybrid vehicles for the city’s fleet, as part of Newark’s ongoing commitment to reduce carbon emissions. 

Delaware’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Projects Fund was created through an act of legislature that allocates 10 percent of the proceeds from the auction of carbon allowances under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative ( to projects and other actions that result in a measurable reduction of greenhouse gasses – carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, chlorofluorocarbons, hydrofluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. Projects must result in quantifiable and verifiable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in Delaware not otherwise required by federal or state law, and not receiving funding from any other state sources. This 10 percent is the Delaware Greenhouse Gas Reduction Projects Grant Program. Delaware-based businesses, state/municipal agencies, and non-governmental organizations such as homeowners associations, academia and non-profit assistance providers are eligible to apply for funding under this grant program. 

Vol. 43, No. 28

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