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How Letting Your Vehicle Idle Can Cost You Big Money At The Pump

Aug 17, 2007
Costly gasoline prices are forcing today's consumers to preserve automobile fuel as much as possible. Unbeknownst to many, even an idling car is guilty of using up valuable fuel, not only unnecessarily wasting this expensive resource, but also causing danger to the environment and a risk to the health of many others. Idling may actually harm your vehicle, but that's only the start. It can also be responsible for increasing pollution levels caused by gasoline burning in the atmosphere.

Many people believe that there are times its okay to for their car to be idle. This common misconception is what makes parents rushing to drop their children off at school or those in a hurry at the cleaners to leave their car in this dangerous mode. It's also another reason that many think leaving a car idling early in the morning, to supposedly warm it up before hitting the road, is an acceptable practice but ironically its one which really isn't needed at all. Vehicles don't require any warming up unless temperatures are less than 25 degrees (and even then, an engine needs less than a minute). The best way to get your car, including its wheel bearings, the steering mechanism, tires and transmission, warm and willing, is to begin driving. Turning your car off entirely can also help save on fuel economy.

Avoiding idling can also help preserve your car's engine. An engine that's in an idle state doesn't operate at its peak temperature and fuel combustion is unfinished. This causes fuel residue to constrict cylinder walls, expel oil and harm engine components. A driver could see the effects of this damage later on through accelerated fouling in their spark plugs or through condensation in their car's exhaust. Damaged spark plugs can increase fuel consumption up to 5 percent and a faulty, corrosive exhaust system can diminish your engine's longevity. Turning your car off completely can reduce such potential risks.

The damage that can be done by an idle car, though, isn't limited to just the vehicle itself. Idle cars produce emissions that have been found to negatively affect respiratory health. Vehicle exhaust also contributes to unhealthy air quality and the presence of smog. These factors have resulted in ailments like asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis, and even premature death. Children and the elderly have been affected the most, but the environment itself is also impacted. Idle vehicles emit pollutants like carbon dioxide. An engine that idles for 10 minutes yields 90 grams of this gas and consumes 0.14 liters of fuel, (commercial vehicles produce even more). These fumes could be greatly reduced if all cars stopped idling their engines by a minute less ever day. Some countries have even instituted regulations already aimed at doing just that. One environmental organization has established a plan to end idling altogether. Widespread practices like these will help to decrease pollution in the air and the threat of global warming.

An idling car can be costly and corrosive. It affects your engine, your health and your wallet. Don't be idle when it comes to keeping your planet safe.
About the Author
Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Beach, Florida. Find more about this as well as a car polish at http://www.stopwaxing.com
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