You probably heard your Dad tell you that it “uses more gas to start a car than it does to keep it running.” He probably heard it from his Dad, and someplace along the way, it was really a thing.
When cars engines used to have carburetors, you did expend a little extra gas getting the car started. Hence, it wasn’t the worst idea to leave your car running when you ran in the old service station to get a pack of Lucky Strikes. And, besides… that nice rumble of idling is a great way to get Peggy Sue’s attention and see if she might want to grab a malt. Two straws, please.
Let’s fast forward to present day. Engines now have more advanced fuel injection technology. It’s a much more realistic way to use gas, and turning it from on to off to on again isn’t going to waste gas.
Now, it would be a bit silly to be killing the motor every time you come to a red light… and the savings would be pretty small. But, if you think you’re going to be sitting for a couple minutes, like while a lengthy train passes by, or that fast food order isn’t coming quite fast enough… you may save some gas by shutting the engine off.
Many hybrid cars have been perfecting this technology over the past decade. As you come to a stop, the engine just quietly shuts down and the internal battery takes over. A bit hard to get used to at first, but the fuel savings are real.
Now, all that otherstuff your Dad told you still applies. Don’t rev the engine, don’t go over the speed limit, and always hold the door for Peggy Sue.
Happy Father’s Day, and safe driving!