The coldest days of this winter are still to come, but don't you dare try and warm up your car before you go anywhere — it could cost you big time.

Believe it or not, it's actually against the law in both Connecticut and New York to let your car idle for longer than three minutes, even if it's in your own driveway.

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So unless you want to roll the dice and try and avoid a costly fine, you're going to have to avoid the temptation to run out and warm that car up. It's even a bigger temptation for those with remote car starters.

Not only is idling harmful to the environment, but according to Popular Mechanics, with most cars, it's unnecessary. Most experts say that warming up your car does not prolong the life of your engine. In fact, it decreases engine life by stripping oil away from the engine’s cylinders and pistons. The warm up is an old-school method that was needed on cars that had carburetor engines, but does not apply to most of todays vehicles. So unless your ride is a 1978 Dodge, a 30-second warm up is more than enough — the engine will heat up normally when you drive.

Now, law makers don't want you to freeze in the morning — these anti-idling laws were put into effect for much greater reasons. Here's what the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has to say about it:

Idling causes air pollution:

  • An idling vehicle spews air toxics, chemicals, gases and particulate matter (“soot”) into the air, contributing to regional haze, acid rain and global climate change.
  • An idling vehicle emits 20 times more pollution than one traveling at 30 miles per hour.
  • Every gallon of gasoline burned produces more than 20 pounds of greenhouse gases

Idling is unhealthy:

  • Breathing in exhaust can aggravate asthma, allergies and cardiovascular disease.
  • Exhaust emissions increase school absences, ER visits and even premature deaths.
  • Emissions are still present and harmful, even when you can’t see the exhaust.

Idling wastes fuel and money:

  • For each hour spent idling, a typical truck burns approximately one gallon of diesel fuel and a typical car wastes 1/5 of a gallon of gasoline.
  • Idling for 10 seconds will use more fuel than turning off the engine and restarting it!
  • Idling is like burning dollar bills.

So there you have it, all the reasons why you shouldn't be letting your car sit and idle while you're getting ready to head out. So dress warm, suck it up and get that cold car moving. You may be chilly for a short while, but it's better than a fine, isn't it?

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