Generally speaking, I'm not one of those people who hates winter. As a lifelong resident of New England, it's just a part of life. Do I wish it were shorter? Absolutely, but there's nothing we can do about that, so we might as well just deal with it.

One of the things I do to best survive the winter is start my car and let it warm up, almost any morning that it's less than probably 35 degrees out.

As any resident of Berkshire County or Massachusetts can tell you 35 degree mornings basically run December through March. That's a lot of time idling, which yes, I know is bad for the environment, go ahead an crucify me for it. I challenge you to get into a freezing cold car every morning at 4:30, pitch dark for three months straight. Once you do that, feel free to lecture me about the ozone layer.

Environmental side effects aside, I recently found out from that it's ILLEGAL in Massachusetts and several other states.

Have I been living under a rock? I had NO CLUE. So of course, I had to ask around, and the general sense I got was that most of my coworkers knew this. However, one of them pointed out, "Marjo, you break laws everyday so why is this any different?" Gee, thanks. I'm sure they were eluding to my many driving infractions, I'm not a hardened criminal, I swear.

So let's get down to it, what does the law actually stipulate and how much trouble can you get in?

Section 16A. No person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit the unnecessary operation of the engine of a motor vehicle while said vehicle is stopped for a foreseeable period of time in excess of five minutes.......

.........Whoever violates any provision of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars for the first offense, nor more than five hundred dollars for each succeeding offense.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Five minutes! That's all you get. There's a bunch of exceptions to the law (delivery vehicles, repairing a vehicle, if power is necessary to operate other machinery on the vehicle, blah, blah, none of which apply to me) but let's face it, you weren't going to read them anyways, so I cut them out.

Driver's beware, warming up your car could cost you big bucks! First time, $100, after that $500!! Half of me wishes I had never even discovered this, so if I do get in trouble I could least plead ignorant.....

If you're a car "warmer upper" are you going to continue to let you car idle?

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