So you have cars that spend a good chunk of time stopped at stoplights. Despite what you may have heard, it’s better to turn your car off when stopped than idling your car. This practice is known as “run-on” restraint.
Back in the day, cars needed a heavy dose of fuel to spark ignition. But using carburetors to provide the fuel an engine needed to fire proved to be inefficient. It took far more gas to start a car than was necessary. At that time, idling your car briefly then back on again consumed more fuel, and resulted in more engine wear, than just letting it run.
As for warming up your car in the morning, unless you live in an area that is extremely cold, 30 minutes is sufficient to warm your vehicle up. Once your windows are defrosted and clear from any ice or snow, it is good to go. Your vehicle’s engine will warm up quicker by driving it.
That was before the advent of electronic fuel injection. Unless you’re driving a car or truck that’s older than you are, EFI delivers only the amount of the amount of fuel needed to bring your engine to life with no waste. That means there’s no more benefit, financially or physically, in idling your car than there is to leaving your mind idling.
You’ll save gas, and money, without increasing wear and tear on your engine, if you briefly shut your car’s engine down, then turn it back on, as opposed to allowing it to idle. The rule-of-thumb is that if you are sitting for 10 seconds or longer, turn it off.
If you still need additional proof, look no further than the carmakers themselves. There are cars on the market today that automatically stop and start for you rather than idling your car. No carmaker wants to risk higher warranty costs from a failed combustion system. You could bet they wouldn’t install what’s known as stop-start technology if they reduced the life of your engine.
Idling your car wastes gas and your money
There’s a second motivation. With gas prices continuing on the rise, your fuel consumption has become more and more important. Did you know that idling your car can use a quarter to a half gallon per hour? This may not seem like a lot, but over time 5-10 minutes a day can consume up to 40 gallons of gas each year. That can be two tanks of gas per year depending on the size of your vehicle, and it’s gas tank.
Exhaust from idling your car
Letting your car idle puts dangerous pollutions in the air that affect our environment and our health. An idling car emits carbon dioxide in the air that leads to poor air quality. It can pose serious health risks from exposure to exhaust including respiratory problems and can exacerbate allergies and even asthma. Shutting down than starting up after a stop, as opposed to idling, is about as clear of a case as an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure as you’ll ever see.
Save gas, and eliminate potential health risks, by not having an idle car. If you have any questions about car idling or would like to help promote idle reduction in your area, don’t hesitate to contact us. The Clean Cities IdleBox Toolkit can help you to get started.