Green Tips for Cars: Don’t Let Your Car Idle

Do you ever stop to think about how much waiting we do while “running” around town. If you’re ready to make your errands more environmentally friendly, then don’t be idle. Idle engines are the Devil’s playthings.

An idle engine gets zero miles per gallon. In fact, letting your engine idle for more than ten seconds is worse than just shutting it off and restarting — it uses more gas and lets loose more harmful pollution.

Idle opportunities can sneak into your driving routine if you’re not careful. So be vigilant. Avoid drive-thrus, opting instead to park the car and walk inside. When you’re waiting on a passenger, pull to the curb and turn the car off. And, if you’re listening to a radio show and can’t tear yourself away, it’s ok…. just turn the car off while you listen.

Want to make your around-town trips even greener still? Then try this. Once you park the car stay stopped. Park once and walk from store to store, you’ll save even more gas and go a little more green.

About Barbara Holbrook

Barbara lives in Southern California where she writes about technology, design and smart ways to go green.


  1. While I support making an effort to be green when behind the wheel, I think that there are some major gaps in what is being suggested here. I typically try to group my errands together, but not necessarily to be “green” but to save on gas. Oil is now $110!

    I think that the problem starts with the way that our roads and stoplights have been designed. The vast majority of idling occurs in congested cities like D.C. where I live. If lights were timed so that drivers could breeze down a main thorough-fair without having to stop every 300 yards, then that would cut down a lot on greenhouse gas emissions.

    I think that it’s unrealistic to suggest that drivers (taxis, commuters, bus drivers, etc.) cut their engines in the middle of the freeway or even in local traffic because it’s not moving along quickly enough.

    These green initiatives must be thought out beyond what individuals can do – we should also think about what the government can do (besides charging us for plastic bags) to make it easier for us to be green and to keep traffic flowing.

  2. I live in South East Asia, many people cut their engines at the lights and in traffic. Mostly cos the cannot afford the gas bill, but they seam to manage just fine… turning it off and on.

Speak Your Mind

Connect with Facebook