Don’t worry, most people haven’t – most of the time I don’t either. But if I know a light is really long, or I am stuck in traffic or in a construction zone, I will turn off the Subaru and sit in silence for a few minutes, trying to save a few more drops of gas. At $4.79 a gallon here for regular unleaded, it is getting to be quite expensive just to go to the grocery store. Luckily for my wife we don’t carpool; I am sure my new driving habits would drive her bonkers – slow starts below 2,000 RPM’s, coasting up to yellow and red lights, and now turning the car off at long stops – it truly would be enough to drive someone insane. But it has become a game for me, as I want to see just how many miles I can get out of a tank of gas. Unfortunately I only get the car during the week when I have an appointment somewhere outside of my neighborhood and on weekends, otherwise this game would be a lot more exciting. It’s hard when you go days between driving to see how far you can go!
I had always thought that turning off the car at a light and restarting it would use more gas than just leaving it running, but I guess those days are long past. If you are at a light for longer than 30 seconds, you do in fact use less gas by turning it off and restarting it than you do by letting it idle. It is a little disconcerting sitting there with the engine off, as thoughts of “is this thing going to start when the light turns green?” start turning in your head, but really – when was the last time your car didn’t start? I cannot remember the last time I needed a jumpstart. So it really is nothing to be concerned about.
Many cars are already built with this feature included – the Prius, the Civic Hybrid, some Mercedes and I think even a few more – on a newer, solidly built car I cannot see this having a detrimental effect on the engines. The first generation Prius’ have been doing this for over 10 years now and are no worse for the wear. What are your thoughts on turning off the engine at really long stops?
Photo by respres
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