With winter coming, many New Yorkers are wondering if the rumors are true, that it’s illegal to warm up our cars in our own driveways.

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In 1972, New York State enacted a law prohibiting idling a vehicle for more than three minutes (one minute in New York City) unless it's being serviced or repaired. This law was put in place to reduce vehicle emissions and improve air quality.

Violations of the law can result in fines that range from $250 to $18,000 depending on the number of violations. So, does that mean you can't warm up your car? Well not exactly.

The law allows for certain exceptions, like if the temperature is below 25 degrees Fahrenheit, or when a vehicle is stopped in traffic or at a stop sign or light. The law also doesn't apply to certain types of vehicles, such as emergency vehicles, school buses, and farm vehicles.

Local laws may also come into play. Some cities and towns in New York, including Ithaca and Rochester, have their own anti-idling laws that are stricter than the state law. So, check out the local ordinances to make sure you're in the clear.

Is It Illegal to Warm Your Car in Your Own Driveway?

Here's the bottom line. It's not illegal to warm up your car in your own driveway as long as you're not idling for more than three minutes (one minute in NYC), and the temperature is below 25 degrees Fahrenheit AND you are INSIDE your car. That's right, the law states that you can’t let the car run unattended.

What about remote car starters? Warming up your car by using a remote car starter is not illegal in New York because the key is not in the ignition so your car can’t be stolen. The local laws could differ on this, so find out ahead of time because it's better safe than sorry.

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