Driver's Guide

How Much Gas Does a Car Use Idling [4, 6, and 8 Cylinders]

A lot of car owners idle their car knowingly or unknowingly. Imagine getting stuck in traffic on a hot summer afternoon. It is ideal to let your car idle, in order to keep the A.C. on. The problem lies in knowing how much gas a car uses idling. This question varies because the type of car determines how much gas does a car use idling.

When it comes to figuring out how much gas a car use idling, there are many questions car owners ask, which includes:

  • How much gas does a 4 cylinder car use idling
  • How much gas does a 6 cylinder car use idling
  • How much gas does a v8 use idling?
  • How much gas does a car use idling for an hour

These are all genuine concerns, and we will explain in details make you understand the idea behind car idling and the way they consume gas.

Two Factors that Determine How Much Gas A Car Uses Idling

how much gas does a car use idling experiment

While it may seem that the capacity of a car cylinder could affect how much gas does a car use idling, – which is true, there are other factors that determine how much gas a car uses idling.

We will consider these factors and determine which is most likely the biggest factor to be considered.

Car Components in use

This is an enormous factor when trying to figure how much gas does a car uses idling. the components in use in the car determine how much gas your car consumes. You may not be aware, but the actual gas your engine consumes also depends on the barometric pressure, outside temperature, alternator loading, engine load, and other things which also include the design of the engine.

During summer with your A.C. on and your car idling, the gas your car consumes is greater than during winter and your car idles with no A.C. or heater on.

Engine Type

We also considered the engine type to figure out how much gas a car uses idling. And the amount of gas used depends on whether it is a regular engine or a diesel engine. Generally, cars use around 1/5 to 1/7 gallons of gas within a hour.

Also, have in mind that a diesel engine gas consumption at idle isn’t much, and this boils down to the absence of any throttle restriction.

So we specifically look at engine size to determine how much gas several car cylinders consume at idle.

How much gas does a 4 cylinder car use idling

To determine how much gas does a car use idling, we should know that smaller cars usually have four-cylinders. These types of cars have lesser moving parts, cheaper and easier to maintain. Another immense advantage in a four-cylinder engine is that they are fuel efficient when you compare them to larger engine size.

So Do they save gas while idling? How much gas do they use?

A 4-cylinder engine car consumes 1.3 liters of gas per hour. Meaning that it uses around 0.03 liters of gas when idling for every minute.

If you idle every day for an hour, a week, that would be around 9.1 liters of gas every week, which is incredibly much.

How much gas does a 6 cylinder car use idling

For 6-cylinder cars used in larger cars, they have better performance and are mostly luxury cars. Because of their performance settings, it uses more gas during regular operations.

A 6-cylinder engine is almost the same as a 3.8 liter engine and for every 10 minutes idling, it consumes around 0.36 liters of gas. From our earlier calculations, this would mean around 2.17 liters of gas every hour. So if you love to idle your 6-cylinder car every 30 minutes daily without moving, then you should maybe reconsider due to the high cost of gas now.

How much gas does a v8 use idling?

V8 engines use twice as much gas as V6 engine idling. And due to the complexity of V8 engines, idling causes great engine wear-and-tear over time, leading to high maintenance costs.

On low gas on a V8 engine, it is advisable to switch your engine off and restart it whenever you are ready to go.

How much gas does a car use idling for an hour

Leaving your car to idle for an hour consumes 0.5 gallon of gas for a V4 engine, 1.5 liters of gas for a V6 engine, and 3 liters of gas for a V8 engine.

So, does idling use as much gas as driving?

Idling uses the same amount of gas as driving. If you cover 24 kilometers in one hour, you will also waste the same amount of gas idling for one hour. Idling is considered wastage because the car isn’t in motion, and yet gas is wasting.

Which is Better, Restarting frequently or Idling?

For modern engines, restarting your car is better than idling. Modern engine needs less fuel at startup than idling. For just 30 seconds, idling consumes more fuel than restarting your engine.

As earlier stated, idling uses over 1/2 gallon of gas per hours – which depends on your engine type. Accumulation of this would cost you hundreds of dollars in a month.

Constant restarting of your engine would amount to $15 worth of wear-and-tear repair. Whereas for idling, it leave gas residues that will damage several engine components and will require high maintenance costs over-time.

Is it OK to idle your car for hours?

It is not okay to idle your car for hours. Here are some reasons.

Waste of Money

Idling costs money and wastes petrol. While idle, cars earn ZERO miles per gallon. More gasoline is often wasted by larger cars than by smaller ones. Additionally, excessive idling over time can increase engine wear and tear and raise maintenance expenses.

Environmental pollution

Leaving your automobile running pollutes the environment. As it might appear, idling raises the air’s concentration of dangerous gases including carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, which may be dangerous to both people and animals.

For instance, carbon monoxide, a deadly gas that damages the respiratory system and causes asthma and other lung conditions, is one of these gases. Additionally, it has an impact on the atmosphere, making it nearly hard for it to rid itself of additional damaging gases.

Therefore, nitrogen dioxide, another toxic gas, is created when nitrogen oxide is generated when it combines with oxygen. Thus, by reducing the amount of hazardous pollutants in the environment, turning off your idle engines results in cleaner air.

Damage Car Components

Hours of idling will stress the cooling system, the engine, and the gearbox, which might lead to long-term damage. It will increase the expense of maintaining your car because the gearbox, engine, battery, and engine parts like the plugs, cylinders, and exhaust pipes will all wear out.


Now we have seen how much gas is used idling, there is no benefit to idling and you should avoid it at all costs. You don’t even need to idle to warm up your car. Only in below-freezing weather do modern automobiles require warming up.

In fact, idling an engine in cold weather can be detrimental to its health. Driving carefully for the first few minutes is the ideal technique to warm up the engine.

If stuck in a long traffic jam, always employ the off and on tactic and elongate the life of your car engine.


Latest posts by Bernard Juchli (see all)

Bernard Juchli

Bernard Juchli is an experienced racer, mechanic and team owner who trusts Avon Tyres.Bernard is the lead driver and force behind his Big Dog Garage Race Team. He is the General Manager and Chief Mechanic of Jay Leno’s Garage. Bernard and his crew of seven are responsible for all repairs, restoration and fabrication of Jay’s incredible automobile and motorcycle collection.

Related Articles

One Comment

  1. Is idling for 20 minutes a day to keep the battery charged due to battery drain, till the problem is found, bad for the engine? From your article I get the gas consumption. The car is a ‘99 Benz 500SL

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button