Our car breakdown cover provided us with a nice new car for a few days which had an ‘automatic start-stop‘ after our old car died (thank you LV=). It’s a nifty bit of technology which helps reduce car emissions, but you don’t have to buy a new car to stop idling; The first UK Clean Air Day (15th June) is the best possible time to change idle habits.
Here’s what you can do and why:
- Turn off your ignition if you’re waiting more than 10 seconds. Contrary to popular belief, restarting your car does not burn more fuel than leaving it idling. In fact, idling for just 10 seconds wastes more than restarting the engine.
- Warm up your engine by driving it, not by idling. Today’s electronic engines do not need to warm up, even in winter. The best way to warm the engine is by easing into your drive and avoiding excessive engine revving. After just a few seconds, your vehicle is safe to drive. The vehicle’s engine warms twice as quickly when driven.
- Warm up the cabin interior by driving, not idling. Easing into your drive is also the best way to get your vehicle’s heating system delivering warmer air faster. Sitting in an idling car means you are breathing in more of the dirty exhaust that leaks into the car cabin. Any warmth you may get from a car heater is not worth damage to health. If parked and waiting, it is healthier to get out of your car.
- Protect your car engine by idling less. Frequent restarts are no longer hard on a car’s engine and battery. The added wear (which amounts to no more than £10 a year) is much less costly than the cost of wasted fuel (which can add up to £100-£1000 a year, depending on fuel prices, idling habits and vehicle type). Idling actually increases overall engine wear by causing the car to operate for longer than necessary
A simple turn of your key can keep the air cleaner and save money and fuel. Every time you turn off your car engine in place of idling, you’ll:
- Make the air healthier by cutting down on hazardous pollution in your town or community. Idling tailpipes spew out the same pollutants as moving cars. These pollutants have been linked to serious human illnesses including asthma, heart disease, chronic bronchitis, and cancer.
- Help the environment. For every 10 minutes your engine is off, you’ll prevent one pound of carbon dioxide from being released (carbon dioxide is the primary contributor to global warming).
And if you’re getting excited about how easily you can make a quick win on health and environment, why not tell a friend, join a Clean Air Day event, or start your own – Birmingham is a Focus Area, so plenty going on locally.