Drivers warned against common fuel-draining engine practice

Woolwich resident says petrol prices are 'astronomical'

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Motorists have been urged not to leave their car’s engine running as it can drain a considerable amount of fuel. The practice is quite common with drivers across the UK and is used to warm up the car and the engine before setting off.

However, according to some experts, driving the car away instantly is the best way of warming it up while saving on fuel.

Motoring experts at Popular Mechanics added that driving right away without letting the car warm up will prolong the life of the engine.

By letting the vehicle idle to warm up, it’s actually putting extra fuel into the combustion chamber, which can get onto the cylinder walls.

Because fuel is an excellent solvent, too much of it on the cylinder walls can dissolve the oil that lubricates the cylinders, leading to shorter life on crucial components.

On top of that, leaving the car running to warm up could go against the Highway Code.

Rule 123 of the Highway Code highlights the “driver and the environment” and declares that drivers must not leave a parked vehicle unattended with the engine running.

Drivers are urged to avoid leaving their engines on unnecessarily to cut down on noise and air pollution.

The rest of the rule states: “You must not leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road.

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“Generally, if the vehicle is stationary and is likely to remain so for more than a couple of minutes, you should apply the parking brake and switch off the engine to reduce emissions and noise pollution.

“However it is permissible to leave the engine running if the vehicle is stationary in traffic or for diagnosing faults.”

Sometimes, often in winter, drivers may leave their car running to warm it up or to clear their windscreen from fog or frost.

In other instances, drivers may avoid turning off their ignition if they are dropping something off at a friend’s house or when stuck in standstill traffic.

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Research has shown that an idling engine can burn through three to four pence worth of fuel every minute.

Speaking previously to, Duncan McClure Fisher, founder and CEO of MotorEasy, warned drivers of the massive costs they face simply for keeping their engine on.

He said: “While this might seem very innocent, research has shown an idling engine can burn through 3-4p of fuel a minute.

“If you are doing 10 minutes of warming up, five days a week, and spending another 30 minutes per week stuck in traffic.

“That adds up to a very handy £166 a year that’s being wasted.

“It’s obviously not great for the environment to have increased emissions escaping into the atmosphere either.”

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