I think it’s better for my gas mileage to idle my car while stuck in traffic or at a longer stop. My wife says it’s more ‘green’ to just turn off the car. It seems far less efficient to me to restart the car every time. Who’s right?
Back in the old days, cars did use a large amount of fuel to start up, but these days your car is far more efficient. Cars today use electronic fuel injectors to control the amount of gas delivered to your engine when you turn the car on. Because of that, you waste very little, if any, fuel. That being said, if you’re going to be at a stop for more than 10 seconds or so, it is better to turn off the car. But bear it in mind it is illegal in most states to turn off your car at stop light, and it’s also dangerous as it increases the odds you’ll be rear-ended. It’s estimated that shutting off your car if you are idling more than 10 seconds daily can save up to about $34 dollars in fuel spending per year. It’s also better for the environment. Burning just one gallon of gas creates almost 20 pounds of carbon dioxide. Some of today’s hybrid cars, such as the Toyota Prius, have automated systems that turn the engine off and on when stopped at a red light, or in heavy traffic. Simply pressing on the gas pedal brings the engine back on. This type of mechanism would further reduce our carbon dioxide output over time and reduce fuel consumption by nearly 10 percent. So in short, your wife wins this one!