Unnecessary engine idling can be a significant source of air pollution, particularly for people near the source. The general laws of Massachusetts (chapter 90, section 16A) state that:
No person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit the unnecessary operation of the engine of a motor vehicle while said vehicle is stopped for a foreseeable period of time in excess of five minutes.
In Boston, the Air Pollution Control Commission has responsibility for enforcing this law. Violators are liable for a fine of up to $5,000 for the first offense.
The APCC engages in many efforts to educate drivers and institutions about the costs of excessive idling (air pollution, engine wear, fuel waste) and the benefits of idling reduction. (For more information, see EPA: Idling.) The City of Boston is itself engaged in an intensive effort to reduce idling in the City fleet.
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