Pain At The Pump: Idling In Construction

Construction on Broadway in Tyler is complete, even with the rain delay yesterday. TXDOT is now working south of town on I-69 near Bullard, and continue work on 271 North.

That completion comes as better news than you might think. Along with cutting down your travel time, it's also cutting down the gas you're wasting sitting still.

In tonight's Pain At The Pump, KLTV 7 News explains how idle cars are the devil's gas guzzlers.

We've all been there: idling in traffic, waiting to get through construction sites.

"It does eat up the gas more, I'm trying to hurry up and get home," said Longricka Crowder today.

"It's tough," says Billy Ray Jones. "I'm sitting here burning 4 dollars and I'm not going anywhere."

Auto technology director Jeff Parks tells us that along with eating up your patience, just sitting in traffic also drinks up more of your gas.

"One of the things that everybody has to remember is that whenever a car is at idle it is getting 0 miles per gallon. And the longer it is sitting there and idling, the worse the mileage is. That affects the bottom line and your pocket book."

Parks also said that how much wasted gas depends on your engine size. He also says the growing trend of turning your ignition off while idle could be a mixed blessing.

"Some people say if I shut my vehicle off if Iam going to sit there for a long period of time. Is that more efficient? It can be if you are going to sit there for a long period of time. But if you shut your vehicle off and then you go right away and start it back up say within 30 seconds or so, it can use more fuel."

And while turning the key could help if you're idle more than 3 minutes, sometimes putting it in park or neutral can help, says Parks.

"If it is an automatic transmission, the longer that that car sits and idles in drive the more the fluid heats up in the automatic transmission, so that can be hard on the transmission if it is sitting there for 2, 3, 4, or 5 minutes.

But whether here, there, or driving somewhere in between, many just make the most of it.

"This isn't this fun," says Gordon Stone. "You just sit here and let it run out your tank. It's not fun - but what are you going to do?"

Parks also said a car is most efficient between 2,000 and 3,000 RPM, which is usually somewhere around 55 miles per hour, depending on the car.

Danielle Capper, reporting.