Everyone does it. The reasons are many: wanting to get into a warm car during winter (or defrosting that windshield!), waiting on someone outside a home or store, sitting in a traffic jam, etc. However, with gas prices continuing to rise, your fuel economy has become increasingly important.
Idling can use a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour, depending on engine size and air conditioner (AC) use. You may not think that is much, but idling just 5-10 minutes a day can waste up to 40 gallons of gas per year!
- Turn off your engine when your vehicle is parked. It only takes a few seconds worth of fuel to restart your vehicle.
- Letting the vehicle warm up for one to two minutes is sufficient.
- Unnecessary idling will consume fuel and produce emissions even while stationary. During idling periods of several minutes or more, where it is safe to do so, switching off your engine will stop fuel consumption and emissions completely.
Word of caution: Turning your engine on and off excessively, however, may increase starter wear.