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Warming Your Car in Winter Can Burn a Hole in Your Pocket

by Scott Siegel

Winter is a hard time for drivers and car owners. It wreaks havoc on your fuel mileage. Chances are you are an unwitting ally to hurting your gas mileage. The wrong idea about warming your car up might be burning a hole in your pocket.

Most drivers are in the habit of warming their cars up in cold weather. They are under the mistaken idea that their car needs to warm up for a considerable amount of time to operate properly. Older vehicles may have needed to warm up but current cars do not.

Many drivers idle their car for 5 to 10 minutes in the winter to let their cars warm up. You should not let your car idle for more than 30 seconds. You need no more than 30 seconds of idling to circulate the engine oil before you can drive away on cold days

When you idle your car to warm it up you are burning gas but not going anywhere. When you let that happen you are getting zero miles per gallon. You may think that idling your car for few minutes or so is no big deal, think again.

To give yourself an idea about how much gas you would be burning by just letting your car idle for 5 minutes each time you start it think about this. Assume you idle for 5 minutes when you start your car in the morning. Assume you idle for 5 minutes again, sometime during the day when you start your car again to drive home.

That means your car is idling for 10 minutes per day. If winter is considered to be November, December, January and February, then winter is 120 days long. If you idle your vehicle for 10 minutes each day for 120 days then you are idling for 1200 minutes during the winter season.

1200 Minutes is 20 hours. Think about it, warming your car for only 5 minutes per start amounts to your car idling and burning gas going nowhere, for 20 hours. Can you visualize your car sitting and idling for 20 hours? Of course not. Then why warm it up for the equivalent of 20 hours of burning gas when it is completely unnecessary?

The best way to warm your car is by driving it. Most drivers don’t realize that in order for your car to operate efficiently other parts in addition to the engine need to warm up. The tires, the transmission, the wheel bearings and other moving parts also need to warm up. The catalytic converter on your car doesn’t function at its peak until it reaches between 400C and 800C. The only way to warm up the other parts of your car is by driving. The reality is your car needs to be driven to completely warm it up anyway.

To save gas and increase gas mileage in the winter one of the simplest things you can do is warm your car by driving it, not by idling. Not only will it save you gas and money but you will also be doing something positive for the environment. That warm car will stop burning a hole in your pocket.

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Improve Gas Mileage by Changing Your Parking Habits

by Scott Siegel

There are many easy and simple things you can do to increase your fuel mileage. One of those simple things is to change the way you park.

Is this what you do when enter a parking lot? You enter the lot and the first thing you do is head for the parking area nearest to the entrance to the mall or the store where you are going. There are not any spaces available at the entrance because everyone, like you, tries to find the closest spaces.

Now you do either one of two things or both. You drive up and down the closest rows to see if you can find a spot that is still close to the entrance or you sit and wait for a while to see if any cars will be pulling out of spaces near the entrance.

Both of these behaviors will cost you gas mileage and will cost you money. When you sit and wait to see if anyone will vacate a space you are running your engine but not moving. You are getting zero miles per gallon when you are sitting and idling like that.

If you slowly cruise the parking rows close to the store entrance you are burning fuel. You are get very poor gas mileage when your car is moving slowly. If you stop behind another car that is waiting or as you stop at spaces that might open up, you are idling and getting zero miles per gallon.

Think how much fuel you will burn in a year if you only spend 1 minute a day waiting for a parking space. Assuming 30 days for an average month, to make a simple calculation, and assume you are burning fuel for an extra 60 seconds or one minute each day, then you would be burning fuel for 30 minutes or a half hour each month.

One half hour of burning fuel a month is the equivalent of burning fuel an extra 6 hours per year. Would you ever leave your car sitting and idling for six hours doing nothing but burning fuel? Absolutely not. But in essence you are letting your car sit and idle for 6 hours if your parking habits involve always looking for the closest parking space.

What is the solution to all of this wasted gas? How can you improve gas mileage by changing parking habits? Very simple, park far away from the store or mall entrance. The farther from the entrance you go the more empty parking spaces there are. Chances are that if you, immediately upon entering the parking lot, go to the rows far from the entrance, you will find a place to park right away.

You save all the fuel you would have burned waiting and looking for a close parking spot by parking far away. There is an additional benefit to parking far from the entrance. Not only will you increase fuel mileage and save money but you will get extra exercise by walking the additional distance to the entrance. It’s good for your pocket book and good for your body.

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