In many cities, including Provo, Utah, idling your car is illegal. The reason why it’s illegal is pretty simple: it’s incredibly dangerous. It’s not that idling will cause an auto accident, but the unnecessary burning of gasoline can have negative side-effects on those around us and the environment in which we live. If you don’t believe it, just ask your lawyer.
Whether you’re waiting to pick up your kids from school, sitting in the drive-thru at your favorite restaurant or just trying to warm up your car on a cold winter day, cutting back on the amount of time you idle can have many positive impacts.
Idling Wastes Gas
Idling burns more gas than most people think. Three minutes of idling consumes the same amount of gas it takes to drive six miles. The length of an average song on the radio wastes six miles worth of gas. This is something you should think about as you sing that one last song sitting in your driveway. Even if you end up on American Idol, would it be worth all of that wasted gas?
Idling Wastes Money
Collectively, Americans spend over $13 million dollars’ worth of gas a day while idling. At the individual level, this doesn’t amount to much, but in the long run the money saved from cutting down on idling could afford you a nice vacation, a fancy new toy or an expensive auto accident lawyer.
A study done by the California Energy Commission found that idling for long periods of time could damage engine components. They found that when the engine is idling the fuel inside doesn’t fully combust. This partial combustion results in a build-up of fuel residue on the cylinder walls. This build-up eventually leads to more serious problems that will ultimately attack your wallet in a couple of ways. First, it will make your car less fuel efficient. Second, it will shorten the lifespan of your engine.
In the long run, idling your car could cost you just as much as if you got into an auto accident or even as much as it costs to hire a lawyer.
Prove That You Care About the World and Quit Idling
The bottom line: Idling is bad for the environment and bad for you. It may not be worse than getting into an auto accident or having to talk to your lawyer, but it’s pretty bad. Idling is one of those things that almost everybody does and nobody is willing to change. However, if we don’t do something about it, it will only be a matter of time before it destroys us.