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Put a CAP on Harmful Vehicle Emissions:

Join the Freeport Clean Air Project (CAP)


What are the facts?


You can improve the health of your community as well as its air quality by reducing how much you idle your vehicle.


Idling a medium-duty gasoline vehicle for five minutes each day can emit as much as 30 pounds of harmful pollutants and 300 pounds of carbon dioxide in a year.


Freeport households have over 7800 registered vehicles which together could produce up to 2.6 million pounds of toxics and carbon dioxide every year if all of the vehicles were idled five minutes a day.


Vehicle emissions are the largest contributor to outdoor air pollution.


EPA estimates:

  • Vehicle emissions of air toxics account for half of all cancers attributed to outdoor sources of air toxics. 

  • Mobile sources contribute more than 50% of nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions in Maine. 

  • NOx in the presence of sunlight and high temperatures reacts with volatile organic compounds to for harmful ground-level ozone (smog).

In general, children are more sensitive to air pollution because they breathe 50% more air per pound of bodyweight than adults.


In Maine, 9.3% of children currently suffer from asthma, the highest rate in New England according to a 2004 study report. Vehicle emissions can trigger asthma attacks and other respiratory distress.


What are the benefits of taking action to reduce idling?


Breathe Easier - By turning off your vehicle's engine when parked, you and others around you,  especially children and people with respiratory problems ó won't have to breathe unhealthy exhaust fumes from a vehicle that is going nowhere. Fumes can trigger asthma attacks and cause respiratory illnesses. Exposure to most auto pollutants is higher inside the vehicle than outside the vehicle. Toxic fumes from idling vehicles that are drawn into buildings through the ventilation system cause indoor air pollution.


Save Money - Over 10 seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting the engine. Idling a medium-duty vehicle for even 5 minutes a day wastes more than 13 gallons of gas a year. Just by turning your key you can save money.


Reduce Wear and Tear on Your Vehicle's Engine - Excessive idling can damage engine components, including your vehicle's cylinders, spark plugs and exhaust system.  Only 30 seconds of warm-up time is needed on cold winter days before driving away. Once the vehicle is running, the best way to warm it up is to drive it. Many components, including wheel bearings, tires and suspension systems only warm up when a vehicle is moving.


Protect Our Climate and Air -An idling vehicle emits 20 times more pollution than one traveling 32 miles per hour. By turning off your engine, you can help stop global warming, acid rain, and smog.




Anne D. Burt, Maine Council of Churches •772-1918/882-6848 •

Joan Saxe, Sierra Club, Maine Chapter • 865-3648 •


Resources for this facts sheet: US Environmental Protection Agency, Natural Resources Canada, 2004 Report of the New England Asthma Regional Council, INFO ME.





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