Warm Up Your Car Without Wasting Energy

Going green — By Stephanie on January 9, 2011 at 6:10 am
app drive safe Warm Up Your Car Without Wasting Energy

Warm up your car without polluting the environment

Baby, its cold outside!  Winter is here and that often means a freezing cold, iced over vehicle to get into in the morning.

If your daily habit includes starting the ignition and leaving the car idling while you grab the rest of your things inside, you are doing more than just wasting gas.  When you leave an idling engine, the hazardous exhaust fumes that are emitted from the tailpile are more than twice that from a moving vehicle.  Not only are you polluting the environment, but you can actually harm your car’s engine by leaving it running out in the cold.

In fact, idling your car while waiting to pick up a passenger, or while in traffic, also is harmful:

The costs really add up.  A vehicle with an 8-cylinder engine that is left idling for 5 minutes each day for a year will needlessly consume an extra 20 gallons of gasoline, wasting $60-90, and producing an additional 440 pounds of CO2 emissions.

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Winter driving woes

So, how can you warm up your car without wasting energy?

1.  Keep ice off the windows in the first place with a piece of cardboard on the windshield.  Simply remove it and go on your way.

2.  Use your own energy to scrape off the ice, warming yourself up in the process!

3.  Instead of idling the engine, use a block heater.  Especially effective for cold climates, block heaters warm up the engine, making it easier to start.  They can also boost fuel economy up to 10%.  Block heaters can be installed at the dealership, by a service center, or even by you – if you are one of those DIY types!

4.  Even without a block heater, you can warm up your car in only 30 seconds of idling.  Drive for about 5-10 minute before turning on the interior heater.  If the inside is too chilly, wear a few extra layers, including gloves and a scarf to ward off the chill at first.

5.  Put aside myths regarding better engine health if the car is warmed up.  Modern fuel injection engines have oil circulating within 30 seconds of turning the ignition key.  In fact, you can actually hurt your engine by keeping it in idle too long or too often.  When it operates in a gasoline-rich mode the engine’s performance can be degraded, reducing mileage over time.

If all else fails, how about snow-shoeing to work?   Or maybe its time to take a sick day, brew some tea and watch the snow falling outside your window.

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  1. guyinsouth says:

    Well issue number one…

    You write … if you idle yr car every day for a year? Really? Presume 5 days a week for maybe half of dec and maybe all of jan ….at most 75 to 90 days…not every day.

  2. AnonGuy says:

    I’m going to idle my car for 10 minutes now instead of 5 because of this article.

  3. MurrayC says:

    6. Clean the shit out of your garage and use it what it was meant for… to park your fucking car inside during winter! No engine idling… no window scraping… warms up within a minute or two… and you get to go NOW

  4. SomeGuy says:

    Why figures for 8 cylinder engines, if i had to guess id say the average for cars is between 4 and 6.

    And block heaters dont use energy? What is this new technology theyve figured out, this could revolutionize the world!

  5. Lmao says:

    I’m going to buy the last H1 the have at the dealership because of this article.

  6. ARPMan says:

    Great suggestions! Good to see that some people think outside of squares.

  7. barry says:

    ok, so i get in my car turn it on give it 2 mins and drive away, get to the hill at my street and the car stalls because its to cold to make it hmmm yup this is totatly BS, love to see someone drive a 1987 subaru brumby up my street after 30 seconds of warm up time :) with manual choke..

  8. Rosita says:

    Almost everyone in Laval (Quebec) has a car shelter in front of their house! They are relatively cheap, easy to install and they keep the snow away! I do not work for a car shelter company: but check out AbrisTempo dot com online – and get moving to have your municipality change its by-laws to allow them! I choose to walk to work instead of scraping the $#%?& windshield for 20 minutes and polluting our children air. I got myself a pair of walking poles and there I go, for 2 km morning and night.

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