Get Better Gas Mileage by Not Idling

An idling vehicle is getting zero mpg. It just makes sense to turn off the engine when you are sitting in line at the bank, waiting to pick up the kids, waiting in line at the car wash. Avoiding idling can save almost 20% on fuel economy. Many experts say there is a maximum 10-second break-even rule. If you need to idle your vehicle for longer than 10 seconds, except in traffic, it is much better to turn the engine off and restart it when you are ready to drive.

Fuel savings is not the only thing to be gained by not letting your vehicle idle. You can also increase the life of your spark plugs and lessen engine wear by not letting it idle. Vehicle engines do not operate efficiently when they idle. Fuel combustion is incomplete and fuel residue can build up on cylinder walls and damage engine components. Idling also causes water condensation in the exhaust leading to corrosion and a shorter life for your exhaust system.

Some people mistakenly think that constantly restarting their vehicle will lead to excessive wear on the battery and starter; however, the added wear only adds about $10 a year to the cost of driving. This is much less than the cost of the extra gas your vehicle uses when idling.

Many drivers believe that a vehicle needs to be warmed up before driving if the temperature is below freezing. Modern engines do not need more than a few seconds of idling time before they can be driven safely. It only takes 30 seconds for your engine to warm up and driving your vehicle gently is the best way to do it. This not only warms up the engine but also the catalytic converter and other mechanical parts of your vehicle.

An idling vehicle is wasting fuel and polluting the environment. Idling vehicles only make OPEC happy.


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