Warming your car this winter could cost you $250 under NJ’s idling law

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** This story was originally published on Nov. 12, 2019. **

There are few things worse in the winter than getting into a freezing cold car.

But before you leave your car running in the morning to warm up while you finish getting ready, know that it could cost you a fine under the state’s idling laws. Anyone caught leaving their vehicle idling for more than three minutes could face a $250 fine.

There are some exceptions to the law. A car can be left idling for 15 minutes if the car hasn’t been running for at least three hours prior. But the temperature outside must be less than 25 degrees.

News 12 New Jersey ran into some drivers in Red Bank who were unaware of the time limits of the law.

“I didn't know that you couldn't idle longer than three minutes,” says John McDonough of Brick. “I did hear about the law though."

Lawmakers say that one of the main reasons for the law is to keep the extra exhaust from polluting the air. Another reason is that an unattended idling vehicle is also a target for thieves.

Some drivers told News 12 that they think that the idea of needing to warm up a car in the morning is no longer relevant for newer cars.

“I don't think it's going to heat up any faster. And I think that's more of an old car type of thing,” says Josh Treskunov of Old Bridge.

The fines for vehicles left idling increase for subsequent offenses. It will cost $500 for a second offense and $1,00 for a third offense.

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