Drivers Who Leave the Engine Idling Risk Car Damage and Waste £188 Million

It is thought that around 244 minutes are lost by each UK motorist who leaves their car idling during the winter months. Not only can this damage the engine, but it generates over 107,000 tons of CO2 in the UK each year, new research has said. It is also estimated that around £188 million is wasted on fuel when you combine the amount of diesel and petrol drivers, who do so.

The Study

The study into this practice was carried out by the Institute of engineering and technology. More than 4 in 10 survey respondents admitted letting the engine run idle at least three times each week during the colder winter months. Over 1 million respondents admitted this happens each day which adds to the carbon footprint by 825 kg. The main reason that motorists admitted to letting the car run idle is to warm things up. On average, this seems to take around five minutes, but one-sixth of motorists prefer to leave the car for 10 minutes to warm everything up.

Are Electric Cars the Solution?

Unsurprisingly electric cars are touted as the best solution to cut carbon emissions. However, the survey also revealed that over 2/3 of motorists do not think that they will make the transition to electric vehicles before 2030. This is the date at which the government will ban the sale of any new diesel and petrol vehicles. It will be followed five years later by a ban on hybrid vehicles from 2035, which is when most other countries in the European Union are introducing their ban on petrol and diesel cars and vans.

Cars Do Not Need Warming Up

The survey also revealed a common misconception. More than 65% of those who responded believed that a car needed to warm up on a cold day, and 40% thought that it extends the car's lifespan. This is a complete mess, and a car needs a mere 30 seconds to lubricate the engine. Once you are moving, both the car and internal cabin will warm up very quickly if you put the heating on.

Highway Code

The highway code actually states that a vehicle should never be left with the engine running, or while stationary on a public road. Actually, running the engine excessively while the vehicle is not moving, can cause damage to the spark plugs, exhaust systems and cylinders. What's more, it produces twice the amount of carbon emissions as a moving vehicle. It is not against the highway code to keep the engine running if you are in a queue of traffic or if a mechanic is trying to diagnose a fault. In any other situation, the car should be placed in park, with the brakes on, and the engine turned off. Experts have suggested using the 10-second rule. If you think you are going to queue in traffic or park by the side of the road for longer than 10 seconds, it is best to shut your engine off.