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3 Ways To Put The Brakes On Vehicle Idling

3 Ways To Put The Brakes On Vehicle Idling

Electric vehicles are gaining in popularity and dropping in price all over the world. But until they make up the majority of vehicles on the road, it’s important for drivers to remain diligent in looking for ways to reduce the impact of their commute.

Avoiding excessive vehicle idling is a simple way to save money at the pump and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, idling for more than 10 seconds wastes more gas than stopping and restarting the engine. In addition, 10 minutes of idling uses as much fuel as traveling five miles and it releases a pound of carbon.

Vehicle idling is a common occurrence, especially during the winter as customers try to warm up their vehicle before driving off. However, idling is not an effective or environmentally friendly way to warm up a vehicle, even in the cold weather.

Keep these three simple steps in mind to help avoid vehicle idling:

Ease into drive to warm the engine With today’s electronic engines, vehicles do not require idling to warm up. The best way to warm the engine is to ease into drive and avoid excessive engine revving. This is also the best way to get the vehicle’s heating system to deliver warmer air faster (or cooler air during the warmer months).

Turn off the engine if you are sitting for more than 10 seconds Restarting a vehicle does not burn more fuel than leaving it idling. In fact, idling for 10 seconds wastes more gas than restarting the engine. So turn off the engine while sitting in drive-through lines, waiting at a train crossing, or picking something up from the store, to save money and energy.

Walk instead of driving Did you know that for most driving trips, the destination is within two miles of the driver’s house? If weather and safety permit, leave the car in the garage for errands that are within a close proximity to your home or office. The exercise will do you good, and the environment will thank you!

Also Check Out:
12 Myths About Electric Vehicles
Quiz: Rate Your Winter Energy Use
EcoMode Software Teaches Green Driving Tips

Image Credit: Flickr – MSVG

Read more: Do Good, Eco-friendly tips, Green, Home, Life, Transportation, , , , , , , ,

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Beth Buczynski

Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog or check out her blog.


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12:12AM PDT on Apr 25, 2013


1:57AM PST on Dec 11, 2012

thanks for sharing this

3:10AM PST on Jan 15, 2012


3:01AM PST on Jan 15, 2012

I try to avoid having to stop at lights by slowly rolling towards the red usually manages to time it so it changes just in time so that I can proceed on my way still in 2 nd gear, while I notice so many particularly young screech up to lights braking hard, NOT THE WAY TO GO!!!

4:43AM PDT on May 11, 2011

Thanks for the article.

2:06PM PDT on Apr 13, 2011


8:34PM PDT on Apr 10, 2011

Ta for the topic!

3:32AM PDT on Mar 28, 2011

Scientific conclusion to the question from a controled experiment and calibrated measurements :
". However, the additional fuel consumption observed seems almost entirely due to a faster idle speed setting for the first 20 seconds after starting. Any good driver would start moving within 1-2 seconds after starting, which would effectively eliminate the fast idle losses by extracting useful work from the additional fuel being injected. If you can begin extracting useful work from your engine within 1 second after starting the engine then it appears starting the engine consumes fuel equivalent to about 0.2 seconds of idling. This is not accounting battery re-charging after starting, but that appears to have a negligible effect.".........."Starting and stopping your engion wears out the starter ( approx $175-305) 5 times as fast and the battery ($65-160) 3 times as fast.
Therefore to the wife below....your husband is correct; starting/stopping is NOT the smart path to take.

3:10AM PDT on Mar 28, 2011

Restarting the engine that many times wears out many things on a car; including the starter....WTF. Also, you burn twice as much gas accelerating from stop as driving 1/2 mile in most cars.
I am begining to think that many folks don't live a normal life at all. 90% of the population in the US & the world does NOT live in a city where walking is an option and electric cars are vastly impractical. I am guessing the author of this article lives in an appartment of a large city, with the "job" on a laptop while sipping over-priced coffee at Starbucks.
Also, the rediculously tiny electric cars (Volt, Leaf) are still over $40,000 even with the MASSIVE government subsities.

7:35AM PST on Mar 5, 2011

Idling vs. re-starting the engine has been a debate between my husband and I for some time now. Glad I won that one!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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