MEMPHIS, TN--Car idling is expensive and harmful to your health and the environment. During the winter, chilly mornings mean many of us warm up our cars before heading to work and the Shelby County Health Department says you could be throwing money away.
For every two minutes a car idles, you use the same amount of fuel it takes to drive one mile. The more time you let your car idle, the more gas you waste and the more money you will spend in the long run. Experts say turning off your car when sitting in a drive thru, in a school pick up line, or at a bank can have big benefits.
According to Larry Smith, Supervisor of Air Quality for Shelby County, “It actually uses less fuel starting an engine than it does idling it.”
If 10% of drivers in the U.S. would reduce idle time by 5 minutes a day, we'd save around 84.5 million gallons of gas a year. “You are both spending money needlessly in the fuel you're using and you're producing pollution that doesn't need to occur,” says Smith.
Idling your car not only pollutes the environment, but you also breathe in harmful fumes. Air movement helps to diffuse fumes from your car and when you are not moving, the fumes have nowhere to go but into the air you are breathing.
“Small individual actions can have a huge impact when done across a small percentage of users,” says Smith. Just like recycling and water conservation, reducing car idle time is a habit we all need to develop.