Idle thoughts

This morning on the way to the farmer’s market, I stopped at an ATM to get some cash.  A car pulled up to the machine right in front of me.  I switched my motor off to wait my turn.  The person in front of me left his engine running during his transaction.  Later, when I came out of the grocery store I noticed the car parked next to me was running.  There was a man sitting in it waiting.

Both of these incidents made me wonder again just how much gas is burned up while we are waiting.  Not just in traffic, but when we are parked.  Drive through lanes seem to be big ways that Americans waste gas, yet I’ve never seen any estimates of just how much is wasted waiting. Most people leave their engines running while waiting their turn.  I guess they either don’t care that they are wasting gas or still believe the old myth that it takes more gas to turn your car off and on than to let it run.  This was true when carburetors were used, but not with fuel injected engines.

We are at the beginning of the cold weather season.  Many people will be starting their cars then going back inside while the cars warm up.  Modern cars warm up so quickly that manufacturers say that warming them up before driving them is unnecessary.  How much gas is idled away warming cars up for comfort or in the misguided belief that it is good for the car?

I wonder why no environmental agency has adopted a crusade to reduce idle time as a conservation measure.