Is It Illegal to Warm Up Your Car in New Hampshire?
As Granite Staters, we consider ourselves pretty hearty folks. We stick it out during the dark cold winter months because they make the spring, summer, and fall that much sweeter. I have tried living somewhere that doesn't experience four seasons, and you know what? It's not for me! And when you live in New England, sometimes you even get to experience all four seasons in one day! Now that's a wild ride.
But did you know you might be breaking the law here in New Hampshire every single winter and don't even know it? I know I have.
On a bitter, 20-something degree morning, I prefer to get in my toasty car after it has warmed up for at least 10 minutes. I like to give it enough time to defrost whatever ice situation has accumulated on my windshield overnight. But I just found out that idling is illegal in New Hampshire! It is not because New Hampshire lawmakers want us to freeze our nether regions off. This is a law with a bigger purpose in mind: to minimize air pollution.
So what exactly is the law?
New Hampshire has idling limitations based on temperatures. If the temperature is above 32º F, you can legally idle for 5 minutes. If it's between –10º and 32º F, you can idle for 15 minutes. And if temps are below –10º? Well, then you just go out there and idle for as long as you'd like. Rock on with your bad self! But also, don't go too crazy, and remember to be kind to Mother Earth.
According to Breathe New Hampshire, here are some steps you can take to improve our air:
- Turn off your engine if you are waiting more than 10 seconds
- Warm up your engine by driving it, not by idling
- Establish a “No Idling” policy at your child’s school
- Don’t use a remote starter or limit use to cold months
- Spread the word! Pledge to be idle-free
Did you know that idling isn't the most efficient way to warm up your engine?
It's true! According to Reader's Digest, the best way to do this is to drive the car. Also, 10 minutes of idling will use the same amount of fuel as traveling five miles (depending on the size of your engine).