By Ginger Lane
My Mom and Dad came to visit last week, and I drove their vehicle to have
lunch. On the way, I stopped at the post office, just for a second! I left my dad’s (Kenneth
Mertens) truck running. He was in the front seat, and before I could even get out, he
reached over and shut it off! I calmly explained I was just going to run in and would be
right back. He said I would be wasting gas. I told him, it takes more gas to restart than it
would have wasted by running. We definitely disagreed, but it was his truck, his gas, and
he is my dad, so he wins! But, I told myself right then and there, I was going to check it
out and show him I was writing.
Well, it turns out, we are both right. According to
What’s your MPG when you’re idling? It’s negative! You’re actually burning
gas... and going nowhere. If you’re sitting outside a grocery store waiting for your
grandmother, and you know it’s going to take her a good 15 minutes to pick out the
freshest loaf of bread, turn off your engine. You’re just burning money. Some people
have heard a myth that it takes more gas to start a car than to run it. So they use that as
an excuse to leave a car idling. It’s complete fiction. If you’re stationary for more than
a couple of minutes, shut it off, and save gas.
This tip also applies to warming up the car. Unless it’s below freezing, cars
don’t need to be warmed up at all. Driving them gently is the best warm up there is. If
it’s 25 degrees out, you might want to let it warm up for 30 seconds. If it’s 10 degrees
out, warm it up for a minute. If it’s -10 degrees out, move somewhere warmer.
My dad was right IF I was going to be a while. And, he has known me and my
‘just a seconds’ all my life. So, chances are, I might have run into someone inside and
talked a bit, or decided I needed to take care of additional business. But, in the case of a
real ‘just for a second’, I was right!
I don’t know of a better time in this generation and for all that follow for us to
turn off our vehicles to save gas and our environment! And, never, I mean never leave
your vehicle running with children in or around it! (And, never leave your children in the
car alone, even if it’s not running! It just takes a second for them to be taken forever, or
something unforeseen to happen.)