Facing Your Number One Gas Consuming Enemy

by : Scott Siegel

At over $4.00 per gallon, every drop of fuel is precious, or so I thought until I see people leave their cars idling while they run back into their house to get something they forgot. I see people idling their cars to keep cool in the air conditioning while waiting for their spouse to come out of the store. I see cars idling waiting in line at McDonald's, I see them idling waiting at the auto tellers and I see them idling waiting to pick up their kids from school.

Those people must not only have a lot of money to burn (pun intended) but they seem to have no regard for any type of conservation or any regard for the environment. There is no faster way to waste gas, money and clean air than idling your car.

Everyone wants to get the best gas mileage from their vehicle. It is even fashionable to compare gas mileage such that the person with the highest fuel economy numbers is the "winner". Then why do so many seem to ignore fuel economy by sitting in a car going nowhere with the motor running? Whether you drive a Hummer or a Honda, the biggest single gas waster is idling your car.

When you are idling you are burning fuel and your car is not moving. That means you are getting zero miles per gallon during that time. You are also blowing gas emissions into the atmosphere and adding to the world environmental problem.

There used to be a myth, that some still adhere to, that starting a car uses up a lot more fuel than idling for a while. If you idle for less than 10 seconds that may be the case but if you are idling for more than 10 seconds, you are using significantly more gas than you would use by turning your car off and starting it up when you were ready to drive.

Ten seconds is the golden rule. More than ten seconds of idling means turn your car off. Now, I am not advocating that you turn your car off at red lights, although some hypermilers do, but I urge you eliminate idling as much as you can.

There are many opportunities to cut down on the amount of time you idle your car. First and foremost stop using drive through anything. Don't use the drive through at McDonald's. That cheap burger could be costing you a lot more than you think when you add in the cost of the gas you are wasting in that drive through line. Don't use the drive up auto teller. Think how much that free checking is really costing you as you burn gas waiting for the teller to process your transaction.

Whenever you can park your car and turn it off rather than sit idling and burning gas, do it. Not only will walking into the bank save gas, you will get a little more exercise too! Increase your fuel economy, save yourself some money and help save the planet all at the same time by doing something as simple as reducing the amount of time your car is idling. You will feel good about it!