Emissions from transportation, primarily cars, buses, and trucks, contribute a significant amount of pollution to our air on a daily basis. Every year motor vehicles contribute approximately 11% of the local fine particulate matter and 28% of the nitrogen oxide emissions. The City has been actively finding ways to reduce emissions from motor vehicles including passing and enforcing rules to use cleaner fuels across the city and to reduce unnecessary emissions like idling. For general information, visit Air Quality.
Idling emissions from gasoline and diesel motor vehicle engines are known contributors to health related impacts, including asthma, respiratory and cardiovascular harm. Idling for longer than three minutes or more than one minute while adjacent to a school is illegal. If you witness a vehicle idling illegaly, you can contact 311 or file a complaint online. If you would like to file an idling complaint and potentially receive an award for your enforcement efforts, visit Citizens Air Complaint Program.
Local Law Air Reports
Vehicle Idling—Variances and Exemptions
This program identifies vehicles that may be exempt from idling regulations while processing devices are in operation. Section 39-01 of Title 15 of the RCNY defines a “processing device”* as:
*The term “processing device” shall not include a heater or air conditioner operated for cabin comfort.
To apply for a Processing Device DECAL:
Note: Vehicles with a Processing Device Compliance DECAL (view an example DECAL) have been inspected by DEP and have been determined to have a qualifying processing device. Therefore, when the DECAL is affixed and the processing device is in use, these vehicles are not in violation of the idling law.
To submit comments relating to idling variances, please use the Idling Variance Comments Form.
The law limits vehicle idling to one minute adjacent to any school, pre-K to 12th grade, public or private, in the City of New York. These flyers can be posted in school facilities and distributed to parents and teachers.
City-Operated Motor Vehicles
On May 11, 2005, Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed Local Law 39 for the year 2005 requiring that diesel fuel-powered motor vehicles owned or operated by city agencies be powered by ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel (ULSDF). The law further requires that a percentage, increasing yearly to 100 percent, of diesel fuel-powered motor vehicles with a weight of more than 8,500 pounds that are owned or operated by city agencies usethe best available retrofit technology (BART) or be equipped with an engine certified to the 2007 EPA standard for reducing the emission of pollutants. DEP went through the Citywide Administrative Procedure Act (CAPA) process and promulgated a list of what constitutes BART in a hierarchical schematic. Diesel Particulate Filters and Diesel Oxidation Catalysts were found to be the best devices based on the EPA and California Air Resources Board for verified technology.
On May 9, 2005, Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed Local Law 40 for the year 2005 requiring that any solid waste contract or recyclable materials contract specify that diesel fuel-powered vehicles and diesel fuel-powered non-road vehicles used in the performance of such contracts be powered by ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel (ULSDF). The law further requires that any solid waste or recyclable materials contract specify that all diesel fuel-powered vehicles and diesel fuel-powered non-road vehicles used in the performance of such contracts use the best available retrofit technology (BART) for reducing the emission of pollutants.
Heavy Duty Trade Waste Hauling Vehicles
Local Law 145 of 2013, requires that every heavy duty trade waste hauling vehicle that is owned or operated by an entity required to be licensed or registered by the Business Integrity Commission and operating in New York City be equipped with either an EPA certified 2007 (or later) engine or utilize “Best Available Retrofit Technology,” as defined by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection before January 1, 2020. The chairperson of the Commission may issue a waiver of this requirement if the applicant for such waiver has demonstrated that compliance with such requirements would cause undue financial hardship on the applicant.
On May 11, 2005, Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed Local Law 41 for the year 2005 requiring that any sight-seeing bus that is licensed by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) and is equipped with an engine that is over three years old shall use the best available retrofit technology (BART) for reducing the emission of pollutants. A sight-seeing bus, as defined by the law, is a vehicle that carries eight or more passengers and operates for hire from a fixed point in the City to a place of interest or amusement. DEP went through the CAPA process and selected diesel particulate filters and diesel oxidation catalysts as the BART.
On May 11, 2005, Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed Local Law 42 for the year 2005 requiring that by September 1, 2006 all diesel fuel-powered school buses shall be powered by ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel (ULSDF). DEP went through the Citywide Administrative Procedure Act (CAPA) process and promulgated a list of what constitutes the best available retrofit technology (BART)in a hierarchical schematic.
Non-road Vehicles (Construction Equipment, Generators, etc.)
On December 22, 2003, Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed Local Law 77 for the year 2003 requiring any diesel-powered non-road vehicle, fifty horsepower and greater, that is owned by, operated by or on behalf of, or leased by a City agency be powered by ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel (ULSDF) and utilize the best available technology (BAT) for reducing the emission of pollutants. DEPhas gone through the CAPA process and has chosen Diesel Particulate Filters and Diesel Oxidation Catalysts as the BAT. DEP continues to review the technology every 6 months. On May 6, 2016, the revisions to the Air Code (Local Law 38 of 2015) became effective, which included the below amendment to Section 24-163.3 (d) (1) (ii) that requires that the installer and /or manufacturer select BAT for a specific engine family.