NORTHAMPTON -- Three Western Massachusetts communities are launching a public education campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cut gasoline consumption caused by idling car engines.
Northampton, Easthampton, and Amherst are working with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and a $10,000 grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection on the campaign.
``If you're going to idle your vehicle for more than 10 seconds, it's better to turn your engine off," said Catherine M. Miller, principal planner at the commission, who is overseeing the campaign.
Signs urging drivers to turn off their engines while they wait will be installed soon at schools and municipal buildings in the three communities.
State law limits vehicle idling to a maximum of five minutes, with some exceptions. For example, trucks making deliveries of refrigerated goods and vehicles operating power accessories are exempted.
There are some drawbacks to shutting down your engine more frequently. ``It's going to add more wear and tear to your starter," said Jeff Woodard, a mechanic at Ernie's Texaco in Northampton.