Is Shutting off Your Car Better Than Idling? – Save Money, Gas, And The Environment

shut-off-car-idling-save-money-gas-environmentIn one word: yes. Surprisingly, there are few circumstances when you should not turn off your car.

As it turns out, if you are to be stopped for more than 10 seconds, then you will use up less fuel if you shut off your car. It is inconvenient to shut off your car all the time but apparently it has a very limited affect on your car. You can turn your car on and off all day long and apparently it will do little to no harm to the vehicle and will not burn anymore fuel than idling for the same period of time. In fact, according to a few articles I found on the subject (featured below), idling is just about the worst thing you can do to your vehicle.

I also wanted to take a second to dispel the myth of needing to warm up your car in the winter. Again, as it turns out, this is a fallacy. In the past, cars with carburetors required some warming up to avoid damage to the engine. New cars, however, do not (clearly a carry over of advice from the past). What is surprising though, is that not only does warming up your car waste an obscene and unnecessary amount of gas, it is also worse for your engine in cold weather and can generally wear your car down more than just driving away immediately.

For more details on what I’ve mentioned here, have a look through the articles below and do a Google search for yourself if you still aren’t a believer.

My parents still stick to warming up the car each morning but I’ve long since done away with it and will enjoy the gas savings for the rest of my years.

Stop Idling and Turn Off Your Car

Is An Idle Car the Devil’s Workshop?

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The Disney Merchandise Money Train

So I just got back from a week trip to Orlando, Florida to check out Universal Studios and the Disney parks. Now that the stage has been set . . .

disney-merchandise-moneyDid you know that Disney makes a lot of money? Of course you did but did you know that since Cars came out in 2006 they have made 8 billion dollars on merchandise sales alone? The movie, surprisingly only made $500 million internationally but they couldn’t care in the slightest. In fact, they could have given movie tickets away for free and still be laughing.

Disney merchandise is both absolutely thievery (from a paying parent’s perspective) and complete brilliance (from a business perspective). Walking around the parks you quickly discover that for every ride and attraction there are 2 or 3 gift shops. Most attractions exit directly into either a gift shop or arcade to make it easier for the kids to start their “mommy please” chants. These chants are parents’ number 1 weakness and wreaks unbelievable havoc on their wallets.

I learned many things on my vacation to the parks:

  1. Most things in the U.S. are relatively cheap (booze, food etc.)
  2. You could buy a brand new car for the price of a family’s share of Disney merchandise

It might seem crazy but after visiting 3 parks I walked away without a single souvenir. My reasoning is simple: souvenir or not, a small fridge magnet is not worth $8, a tiny figurine is not worth $24.95 and a Harry Potter wand (read: tiny piece of wood) is not worth $32 – this last one is almost laughable.

disney-merchandise-money-trainFor those interested, there is a business lesson here. There is a lot of money to be made by attracting consumers and upselling them but more importantly – sell to kids. Sell, sell, sell, sell, sell to kids. If you can capture the kids attention you’ve got money in the bank. Harry Potter is even more brilliant because it attracts both younger audiences and slightly older audiences that have disposable income. Genius. Is it too late to invest in Disney???