Getting Even More Anal About Idling
So I've been putting together my Riot Numbers this week and was a bit dismayed to see that my gasoline consumption is exactly the same as it was in February 2007. Ugh. Of course, I didn't have two kiddos in a preschool that is located ten miles away then, but still, it's depressing.
Depressing to think about all the changes I've made to reduce my gasoline consumption without actually seeing much change in my numbers. And so, here's another change I'm gonna make in an attempt to shift those numbers down.
Here's me today getting in the car to go pick up Ethan at preschool:
I buckle Daphne in her carseat, close her door and then slide on in behind the wheel. The first thing I do is stick the key in the ignition and turn on the car. Then I grab my seatbelt, pull it around my not-so-slim waist and click it into place. I then realize that I'm experiencing some sort of scraping pain in my left eye. Internal dialogue begins:
"What the hell, man?" [remember, this is internal, so I'm not swearing in front of my 2-year-old. Trust me, the girl is a parrot, and I watch the language when she's in earshot] "Jesus on a freakin' Pop-Tart what is in my eye?!?!" I rub said eye furiously, which not only leaves me looking like an Alice Cooper impersonator, but grinds whatever foriegn object is there against my fragile cornea.
"OhmyGod, it feels like a god damn pine cone! Oouuuuuuccccchhhhhsssshhhhhiiiiiiiiiiiitttt". I rotate the rearview mirror for a closer look. There is no pinecone, but an errant lash lies teetering on the edge of my eye-rim (yeah. whatever. don't care what the technical term for that is). I pluck the eyelash and make a wish as I blow it off my fingertip. Now I'm looking at the mess I made of my mascara, but then shrug and decide I don't really care.
I put the rearview mirror back in place and do a double-check on the Dapper to make sure she's buckled, because I have the world's worst short-term memory. I plug in my cell phone to recharge, pop in a Scooby-Doo DVD and release the parking brake. I shift the 'van into reverse and head on out.
Sadly, this start is par for the course. Except the eye thing. That only happens every now and again. But it illustrates a good point: Every time I hop in the car, I start the engine before I'm ready to drive off. And if the engine is running when the tires ain't movin', I am getting exactly ZERO miles to the gallon. That's some seriously crappy fuel economy.
So from here on out, I'll be buckling up, checking the kids, adjusting mirrors, plugging in chargers, finding DVDs, releasing parking brakes and removing pinecones from my eyeballs before I start my engine.
I spend an average of five seconds per start-up just farting around. Granted, that's not much time. But how often do I start up? Let's see....
On an average weekday, I startup to take the kids to preschool. I startup when I leave preschool and head for errand #1. I startup when I leave there to hit errand #2. I startup again to hit errand #3. Then I startup again when I head out to pick up the kids from preschool. Another start to get us headed home.
Now this is assuming I've only got three stops to make on the way home and I don't take the kids anywhere after school. So for this typical day, I've got six startups of five seconds each, or 30 seconds of idling. Doesn't sound like much, does it?
Well, multiply that 30 seconds times seven days in a week and you're looking at 3.5 minutes of useless idling. In one year that adds up to over three hours of easily avoidable, positively useless idling which wastes nearly 16 gallons of gas.
Now chew on this: If all the other SAHMs and SAHDs in America that are out there shuffling their kids around adopted this change, collectively we could save over twelve and a half million gallons of gas every single year.
Difficulty Level: 2 out of 5Habit. Change. Adjustment. Done.