Letting the car idle could seem like the best option when one has to stop for a few minutes. Stopping and restarting the engine could lead to more wear and tear of the engine and running components, many may feel. It would also seem like the best option because switching off the engine and restarting just after a couple of minutes could result in the vehicle consuming more fuel.
Well, thats wrong. Just to begin with. Letting the engine idle, say, at a signal or while pulled over for a few minutes, does more harm than good! Let's take a look why.
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Well, it is the most obvious one- you are wasting fuel. When you let the engine idle, fuel is being used by the vehicle. That an engine consumes more fuel to stop and then start again than just letting it run is the most inaccurate fact of all.
Any vehicle that idles more than 10 minutes is using between 1/3 and 1/2 of a litre depending on your particular vehicle. That is way more fuel used than when restarting the engine.
The assumption that many have that stop start a vehicle engine damages the running parts. Well that not true either. Modern day vehicles are fuel injected and the components used are made to take such stress. Besides, the wear and tear cost would work out a lot cheaper, compared to the amount spent on just refuelling the vehicle that is idling everytime it comes to a halt.
In fact, letting the engine idle damages it more because fuel is not burnt effectively, leaving residues. This happens because the engine is not running at its optimum temperature. This will result in the car returning lower fuel economy due to these fuel residues. The best way to warm up your vehicle is to run them instead of letting it idle.
The air we breathe will be a lot cleaner when the engine is switched off. Exhaust gases from vehicles is the biggest reason for air pollution and this directly affects global warming.
According to EcoWatch, a news website that reports environmental news, green living and sustainable business, claim that every 10 minutes of idling cut by a person can reduce one pound of carbon dioxide polluting the atmosphere. And that research is for just one person...
Another Canadian study shows that if Canadian motorists reduced their idling by just 3 minutes a day, it would be the equivalent of taking 3,20,000 vehicles off the road for the entire year!
Breathing exhaust fumes can actually damage brain cells and could be linked to autism- a neurodevelopmental disorder. A study conducted in New York showed that children exposed to high amounts of exhaust fumes and combustion engine byproducts had lower IQs by the age of 5 itself. Apart from that, it can also harm one's lungs, increase asthma, cause allergies and heart disease and even cancer.
Kids especially are very much vulnerable because they inhale more air per pound of body weight. So leaving a vehicle idling near schools is very dangerous. Turning the engine off is a very good option!
It saves us cash! All the cash spent on fuel that was used up while the car was idling amounts to a lot. A study showed that Americans waste USD 13 million (INR 80,30,75,000) idling their vehicles everyday! The money spent by every person on idling fuel can cover basic maintenance work for their vehicle.