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Idle Waste

Tue., Sept. 24, 2013

Q: You recently discouraged people from turning off their cars at stoplights - a maneuver some people use to reduce idle-time fuel wasting. I agree with you. I hate waiting while the four people ahead of me take the time, once the light changes, to put down their cell phones (if they do put them down), turn on the car and put it in gear before pulling off. But I’m not coming up with many ideas for reducing idle wastage.

A: Don’t use a remote starter so the car can warm up before you leave the comfort of your home in the winter. And definitely cease “warming up the engine” on cold mornings before you pull away. It’s not necessary. Just drive slowly for a minute.

Don’t leave the engine running when you zip into the 7-Eleven for a Big Gulp.

Quit using drive-throughs - park the car and walk inside to do your food pick-up or banking. Even a five minute wait (and at lunch time, that’s nothing), is a lot of idling.

Q: I read Tesla is going to have cheaper versions of the Model S? When? And how much cheaper?

A: Not many details are known. The head of Tesla got everyone worked up this spring when he said he expected to have a much cheaper version of the Tesla S electric vehicle ($70,000-plus and up) on the market in three to five years. The figure he referenced was $30,000 to $35,000.

Most who follow every turn of the screw of this company think it’ll be on the longer side of the timeframe before the new car is available. Time will tell.

Q: We’ve decided to consider diesel for our next car. We know the obvious contenders, but we don’t want to overlook any. Does some sort of central source provide a complete list of every diesel-powered car?

A: The most efficient way is to go to, which is a great informational gift from the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. At the home page, click on “diesel.” It will give you the pertinent fuel specs (tank size, mpg, annual fuel cost) on every diesel-powered vehicle. And you can do side-by-side comparisons of up to four of them at once.

What’s your question? Sharon Peters would like to hear about what’s on your mind when it comes to caring for, driving and repairing your vehicle. Email


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