Idling gets you
nowhere - and it can be costly. Excessive idling wastes an enormous
amount of fuel and money and generates needless greenhouse gas
conditions, emissions from idling vehicle are more than double the
normal level immediately after a cold start.
Warming up the
engine means more than the engine. The tires, transmission, wheel
bearings and other moving parts also need to warm for the vehicle
to perform well. Most of these parts do not warm until the vehicle
Once a vehicle is
running, the best way to warm it up is drive it. With computer
controlled, fuel-injected engines, you need no more than 30
seconds of idling on winter days before driving away.
converter - the device that cleans pollutants from the vehicle
exhaust - does not function at its peak until it reached between
750 and 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. The best way to warm the
converter is to drive the vehicle.
Idling emits more
pollution if the catalytic converter is not working properly. Ask
your technician to check the system the next time your car is
Driving a vehicle
cuts warm-up times in half. This reduces fuel consumption and
greenhouse gas emissions.
Ten seconds of
idling can use more fuel than turning off the engine and
restarting it. If you are stopped for more than 10 seconds - except
in traffic - turn off your engine.
Every 10 minutes of
idling costs you at least 2/10 (0.2) of a gallon of gas - and up
about 7/10 (0.7) of a gallon for an 8-cylinder engine. Keep in
mind that every gallon of gas you use you produce about 19 pounds
of carbon dioxide.
can be hard on your engine. Because an engine is not working at
its peak operating temperature, fuel does not undergo complete
combustion. This leaves fuel residue that contaminates engine oil
and makes spark plugs dirty.
Restarting a car many times has little impact on engine components
such as the battery and the starter motor. The wear on parts that
restarting the engine causes adds about $10 a year to the cost of
driving - money that you'll likely recover several times over in
It‘s important to drive away as soon as possible after a cold
start. But avoid high speeds and rapid acceleration for the first
3-5 miles. This lets the whole vehicle reach peak operating
temperature as quickly as possible without paying a fuel penalty.
If your vehicle has a diesel engine, idling actually lowers the
coolant temperature faster than shutting off the engine. In other
words, switching off the engine keeps the engine warm longer
A poorly tuned engine uses up to 15 percent more energy when
idling than a well-tuned vehicle. Keeping your vehicle in good
condition is a key to fuel efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas
Idling your vehicle with the air conditioner on (to keep the
interior cool) can increase emissions by 13 percent.
Warming up a vehicle is the most common reason given for idling -
in both winter and summer! Many drivers also say that they often idle
while sitting in the drive-through lane of a fast-food restaurant
or while waiting for someone.