Why You Shouldn’t Idle Your Car Before Driving

Woman wiping snow from car

Winter mornings can be cold, especially here in New York. That is why, for most people, warming up your vehicle before you head out for the day seems like common practice. I mean, who would want to step out from a warm house into a freezing car? Not many people.

However, would it come as a surprise to know that warming up your vehicle in the morning is a big no no? In fact, all modern cars do not need to be warmed up to properly function. This is a result of the auto industry turning away from carburetors in favor of electronic fuel injection, which simply uses sensors to supply fuel and get the right air and fuel mixture. This is what makes warming up your car before driving pointless. Most experts state that you should warm your car for at least 30 seconds before heading out. Not the five to 10 minutes that most people do.

Negatives of Idling Your Vehicle

There are several negatives to warming up your car in the morning. Those are wasting gas, emitting unnecessary gas emissions and additional pollution. Though modern cars are improving the number of miles that they drive, staying put for an extended period of time does nothing but waste your gas and nets you nothing. Additionally, a study in 2009 by Energy Police found that vehicles idling in winter, idling waiting for something or someone, and idling in traffic, contribute 1.6 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

Also noted in the study is that the number is nearly double the total emissions for the iron and steel manufacturing industry.

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How Much Would Ending Unnecessary Idling Save You?

Yet another study found that if we were to end unnecessary idling, then consumers would save more than $6 billion per year on fuel costs. Fortunately, technological advances have helped reduce idling as many vehicles come equipped with start-stop technology that shuts the engine down when your vehicle is stopped. The engine flips back on when you start to drive.

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