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“Idle hands are the devil’s tools,” or so they say.  Maybe a better proverb would be “idling cars are the work of the devil.”

So you’re picking up your daughter from the swimming pool on a sweltering afternoon. Just after getting into the car, she remembers that she’s left her towel and must run back inside to get it. She’ll only be a few minutes, so you leave the car on and enjoy the crisp air conditioning and your favorite oldies station while you’re waiting for her. Besides, turning the car off and restarting it again is bad for the engine and wastes gas, right?

Wrong. In fact, idling for any longer than ten seconds uses more gas than restarting your car and causes more wear-and-tear on the engine.  Idling can squander up to half a gallon of fuel per hour, and leaving your air conditioner running can only make that worse.

There are a lot of ways to save money on gas, and idling is not one of them. Idling for 10 minutes a day can cost an SUV owner over $200 per year. How many miles per gallon do you get while idling? Zero.

It is estimated that Americans waste about 2.9 billion gallons of gas per year solely on idling vehicles. With gas prices the way they are, that’s a huge expense. Granted, about two thirds of that idling occurs during traffic jams over which drivers have little control. But it is absolutely still important to take measures to avoid voluntary idling — for more reasons than just our wallets.

Read on to Part 2 to learn about health hazards from idling emissions.

Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet.