Common mistake could burn ‘4p of fuel a minute’ and lead to £1,000 repair bill

Petrol and diesel drivers could waste a staggering 4p worth of fuel every minute and cause extensive damage to their vehicles by making a common mistake when travelling this Christmas.

Heading onto the roads at peak times is likely to see road users stuck in heavy traffic on main routes. 

Sitting idle while the engine is running will use up more fuel and also cause severe issues to the exhaust, spark plugs and cylinders. 

Experts have now warned the effects of engine idling could hit motorists with an eye-watering four-figure sum in the new year. 

Ollie Green, owner of Collect Service Go, highlighted the consequences as part of a new warning to road users heading out on the roads to enjoy the festivities.

He explained: “When the engine is switched on and the car is stationary, the engine won’t work at peak temperature as fuel is only partially burned. 

“This leads to fuel residue build-up, which can damage the spark plug, cylinder and exhaust, whilst also reducing fuel mileage.”

Collect Service Go has estimated the repairs are likely to set motorists back a whopping £1,165. 

Engine idling will have a major impact on fuel economy rates with specialists at Michelin warning running in traffic can use up around 0.8 litres of fuel per hour.

However, figures from the Department for Transport suggest some vehicles can use up to two litres of fuel per hour sitting idle. 

This can have a knock-on environmental impact with around 5.26kg of CO2 pumped into the atmosphere. 

The Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) shows that just one minute of engine idling can cause a Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) to use 21.7g of fuel. 

This will amount to a loss of around three pence per minute in a blow to cash-strapped road users.

Last year, Duncan McClure Fisher, founder and CEO of MotorEasy warned that motorists could be blowing over £100 every year sitting with their engine running.

He explained: “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.”

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