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What is Idling and is it Bad?

When your car’s engine is running but the car isn’t moving, that’s called idling. 

We’ve all been there,  on those hot summer days and you’re sitting in your car with the air conditioner on, waiting for your kid to come out of school. You see other cars driving by and their drivers look comfortable and cool.

You start to wonder: is idling bad for my car? After all, it’s just a couple of minutes, right? What harm could idling really do? In this blog post, we'll answer those questions and more. Keep reading to learn all about idling and its effects on your vehicle.

The Cost of Idling 

Idling may not seem like a big deal, but it actually has some pretty serious consequences, both in terms of money and the environment. For example, did you know that idling for just two minutes can burn more fuel than restarting your engine? If you idle for 1 hour each day, that adds up to about 15 gallons of wasted fuel over the course of 30 days. And that’s if your car has an average fuel efficiency. If you have a larger vehicle or one with poor fuel economy, the number will be even higher.

SCDHEC says that a regular car uses 0.5 gallons of gas per hour when it is not moving. That means that 10 regular cars would use 5 gallons of gas per hour! In the Caribbean, gas costs an average of $5.61 per gallon, so $28.05 worth of fuel is wasted each hour that the 10 cars are not moving.

Check this table for Caribbean insights on fuel prices and idle cost. 

The Consequences of Idling

Not only does idling waste fuel, but it also emits harmful pollutants into the air we breathe all of which can have serious health impacts. These pollutants have been linked to asthma attacks, lung cancer, heart disease, and strokes. Meaning that idling not only harms the environment but also our own health. 

The truth is that repetitive idling takes a toll on your engine, leading to increased wear and tear and potentially a shorter engine life which can have major implications for your business. So not only is idling bad for your wallet, the environment and your health, it’s also bad for your car!

Alternatives to Idling

So what can we do to help stop this harmful habit? For everyday drivers, the best way to reduce idling is to simply turn the key when stopped for 10 seconds or more, except in traffic. 

It’s important to be aware of just how much time we spend idling. Once you know how much time you idle on a daily basis, you can start making small changes to your routine in order to reduce that number. For example, if you usually idle in traffic for 30 minutes each day, try parking further away from your destination or taking the bus one day a week. 

Every little bit helps when it comes to reducing emissions and improving air quality. Let’s all work together to make our community healthier, both environmentally and physically. Your wallet, your car and the environment will thank you!

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We hope this article has shown you the importance of reducing your idling and some easy ways to achieve that. It’s not always easy to break old habits, but hopefully, after reading this, you’re motivated to make a change. Every little bit helps!