The other day I spent an hour sitting in traffic in downtown Philadelphia. Not only did I watch my fuel economy plummet on my MPGuino, but I kissed the bumper on a BMW to let an ambulance by, and my car ended up overheating. I was so preoccupied by the traffic that I didn’t notice my temperature gauge creeping up until I finally started seeing smoke pouring out from under the hood. And then I did what any responsible person would’ve done.
I turned the engine off. But, we were in the middle of traffic and there was no way to move the car to the side of the road. I probably could’ve pushed it quite a ways, but not without half of Philly cursing at me for contributing to their traffic jam. So instead of doing parking the car and waiting, I started it back even every time we needed to creep forward and then shut it off instead of idling. The temperature quickly dropped back down to reasonable levels and a crisis was averted.
But then I wondered why I, a person who ecodrives to save gas, wasn’t doing that in the first place. In dense traffic, starting the car back up didn’t slow traffic or me down at all, and all that idling killed my gas mileage. There was just a mental block preventing me from doing the obvious, which is why I was so happy I recently got this bit of encouragement.
An anecdote about idling and fuel savings
The other day, forum member dcb decided to put idling to the test in his commute. While everyone would expect him to save gas by cutting out the idling, he ended up with a surprisingly large 17% gas mileage increase. That’s a real big deal and it came from something as simple as turning off his car when stopped. It’s something everyone can do, and is being incorporated into cars now with start-stop systems so that it can be done automatically.
Of course, no one can promise a 17% increase, that depends on your commute, but any amount of idling that’s cut out will increase your fuel economy. So go ahead, give it a try.
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