Idling thoughts

The Current’s Barb Abney asked me a question a few minutes ago for which I had no answer.


Is the Minneapolis no-idling law in effect when it’s cold as all getout?

Yes and no, the News Cut research department reports. The law, which bans vehicles from idling for longer than 3 minutes, carries this get-out-jail free card:

There are exceptions to the three minute idling restriction for cars and most other gas or diesel powered vehicles.


1. Vehicles may idle when stopped in traffic.

2. Police, fire, ambulance, public safety or other City vehicles may remain running to operate lights, circulate water in tanks or maintain accessories needed during emergency or enforcement activities.

3. Police K9 or Animal Control vehicles may remain running to maintain a safe climate for animals.

4. City vehicles may remain running at job sites during inclement weather if a supervisor grants authorization.

5. Idling is allowed to diagnose repair needs.

6. Idling is allowed if needed to operate defrosters, heaters or air conditioners to prevent a safety or health emergency.

7. Vehicles may idle up to 15 minutes in a one hour period if the outside air temperature is less than zero degrees or higher than 90 degrees.

One might argue that #6 would trump #7 and allow unrestricted idling.