How Much Gas Is Lost by Idling Your Vehicle?

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No matter which vehicle you drive, there’s one aspect that every driver keeps a close eye on — fuel level. Your car utilizes gasoline as long as the engine is running. This includes idling — any time that you keep the engine running without actually moving. In fact, many drivers don’t know just how much gas is used when the car is idle. So, how long can a car be in park before running out of gas?

Before we determine how long you can keep your car idle before the gas tank hits “E”, we must understand how much gas the engine uses regularly. Anytime you press the gas pedal, you’re using gasoline. Factors like tire pressure, air conditioning usage, oil levels, your driving style, and other elements of your car will impact fuel economy.

Even though the engine does utilize gas while you’re stopped or parked, it doesn’t use nearly as much as when you’re moving. Idling or parking with the engine running only uses a fraction of your gas — even with the air conditioning blaring. However, you often waste more gas idling after ten seconds than you do turning off and restarting your engine. 

Although your car’s tank size and fuel economy may cause your experience to be slightly different, most mechanics and news sources agree that an idling car will waste approximately 1/7 to 1/5 of a gallon of gas each hour it’s left idling or in park. Basically, you could lose up to a mile’s worth of gasoline for every hour the engine is running but the car is not moving. 

In theory, if you have a full tank of gas and you leave your car running in park for a full 24 hours, you will likely have plenty of gas left in the tank. However, the issue isn’t how much gas you’re wasting — it’s how much strain you’re putting on the engine. Letting it idle for too long can overheat the engine, not to mention that constant idling will continue polluting the environment.

Idling can’t be prevented in most cases; however, we recommend that you turn your engine off any time you’re parking for more than a few minutes. Do your part to help your car and the environment stay as healthy as possible. 

Looking for a new or preowned vehicle with better gas mileage? Visit Valley Automall today and let our experts find you the most fuel-efficient car for your budget. Contact us today at 702-570-2257 to learn more about the best ways to conserve gas by practicing better driving habits!