During the winter, many of us are in the habit of “warming up the car” before trips. While this might make for a more comfortable trip for you, it’s not ideal for your car or the environment.
Idling hurts your car. It forces your engine to operate in an inefficient and gasoline-rich mode that over time can degrade the engine’s performance and reduce mileage.
It’s costing you money too. The driver of a car with a V-8 engine will waste 20 gallons of gasoline over the course of the year by idling just five minutes a day. That’s over $60 a year. A good rule of thumb? Turn off your ignition if you’re waiting more than 10 seconds. Contrary to popular belief, restarting your car burns less fuel than leaving it idling.
More importantly, idling harms the environment and increases air pollution by releasing unnecessary carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. For every 10 minutes your engine is off, you’ll prevent one pound of carbon dioxide from being released.
For these reasons, next time you think about going out to warm up the car, avoid the urge. Because of the efficiency of modern fuel injection, idling is not actually an effective way to warm up the car. Driving the car will actually warm up a car much faster than idling!