Everything You Need To Know About Idling

Everything You Need To Know About Idling

Idling happens when a vehicle’s engine is running while the vehicle is not in motion. Drivers are sometimes forced to idle in traffic, but in most situations idling is not necessary. Idling is merely a habit that drivers can break, especially when they realize how harmful it can be to the environment.


How is idling harmful?


  • Idling increases the amount of vehicle exhaust in our air. Exhaust contains many pollutants that are linked to asthma and other lung diseases, allergies, heart disease,increased risk of infections and cancer and other health problems.
  • An operating vehicle emits a range of gases from its tailpipe into the atmosphere, one of which is carbon dioxide CO2– the principal greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
  • Idling wastes fuel and money. An idling car uses between 1/5 to 7/10 of a gallon of fuel an hour. An idling diesel truck burn approximately one gallon of fuel an hour.
Ways to avoid unnecessary idling


  • Turn off your engine if you’re waiting for longer than 10 seconds. Contrary to popular belief, restarting your car does not burn more fuel than leaving it idling. In fact, idling for just 10 seconds wastes more gas than restarting the engine.
  • Warm up your engine by driving your car, not by idling. The best way to warm the engine is by easing into your drive and avoiding excessive engine revving. After just a few seconds, your vehicle is safe to drive. The vehicle’s engine warms twice as quickly when driven.
  • Also, warm up the inside of your vehicle by driving, not idling. Sitting in an idling car means you are breathing in more of the dirty exhaust that leaks into the car cabin. Any warmth you may get from a car heater is not worth the damage to your health. Ifparked and waiting, it is healthier to get out of your car and go inside a store or building.
  • Waiting for someone in the parking lot? Picking up the kids at school? Waiting in line at the valet? Turn off the engine.
  • Steer clear of drive-though windows at fast-food restaurants. Park and go inside instead. If you must use a drive-through, turn off your engine while at the waiting for your food.
Additional idling facts


  • Modern engines require much less fuel at startup than people think.
  • Idling is harder on the engine than restarting. Frequent restarting causes only about $10 worth of wear-and-tear per year, whereas idling leaves fuel residues that damage engine components and cause higher maintenance costs over time.
  • Idling wastes fuel. Idling for a few minutes everyday can cost you several dollars per week – which doesn’t seem like much, but adds up in the long run.
  • Two minutes of idling uses the same amount of gas as 1 mile of driving – according to the Consumer Energy Center.


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