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Bhutan Observer
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Idling car engine, a waste: Experts
Administrator, March 29, 2011
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Pemagatshel: Every day, Sonam, a driver, puts the engine of his pick-up truck on and leaves it idling for at least five to 10 minutes before embarking on a journey. He has been doing this for the last three decades of his driving career and has become a part of his daily ritual. He said that he saw older drivers do this and picked up the habit from them. Like Sonam, almost all Bhutanese drivers do this to warm up the engine for long-term durability.  However, if the findings of a new study are anything to go by, idling is not only bad for the engine, but it is also ineffective and a waste of fuel. The study says that cars with modern fuel injection system do not require engines to run for more than a minute before moving unlike the carburettors and choke system. The engine warms faster while moving the car on the road than idling. Some say that idling engine for more than 10 second is a waste of money. However, Tshewang, a car owner, said he did not know it was unnecessary and wasteful. “As soon as I step into the car, there is an urge to run my car for a while. I have reduced idling time from over 10 minutes earlier to a minute or two these days,” he said, adding that he cannot come to terms with the idea of embarking on journeys without warming the engine for a short time. Tshewang said the main reason for idling is to warm the engine and let the lubricant spread to other engine parts. He, however, admitted that this was not an expert advice but something which every other driver does habitually. According to the Hinkle Charitable Foundation’s anti-idling primer, idling forces an engine to operate in a very inefficient and gasoline-rich mode that, overtime, it degrades the engine’s performance and reduces mileage. The Alliance for Automobile Manufacturers and the Environmental Protection Agency also say that modern cars do not require warming up. It, however, says that aggressive driving by resorting to sudden stops and quick starts must be avoided to save fuel. Aggressive driving leads to a reduction of fuel efficiency by as much a third at highway speeds and by five percent around town. Keeping the car in motion and avoiding unnecessary stops also saves fuel. Accelerating from a full stop uses more fuel. By Gyembo Namgyal

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