the $72 million savings

Vehicle Idling: Big Polluter, Money Waster

With Austin facing a potential air quality non-attainment designation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, now is the time to break age-old habits feeding a key energy waster: vehicle idling.

If every driver of a light-duty vehicle in Austin were to avoid idling for just 10 minutes a day, that would collectively save 26 millions gallons of fuel, $72 million in fuel costs and tons of smog-producing emissions. Ten minutes of daily idling wastes almost 20 gallons of gasoline annually for every big-city driver. Vehicles also emit a significant amount of carbon dioxide (CO2). A motorist traveling 20,000 miles a year releases more than four tons of CO2 into the air along the way. Tips for reducing idling:

  • Park and go inside rather than using drive-through windows.
  • Take an alternative route to avoid stop-and-go traffic.
  • Travel earlier or later when congestion is less.
  • Don’t rev up an engine to warm it up. Modern engines don’t need it.
  • Turn off the engine when waiting for someone.

For more clean air ideas, visit

First published in the August 2009 edition of Austin Energy® PowerPlus™

Author: Sig

Modern Soapbox is the blog of Sig.

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