According to research by Environment Canada, on a -25 oC day, using a block heater can reduce your fuel consumption by as much as 25 per cent at for a single short trip.
Science has long known that during colder months, vehicle engines and their emission control systems take longer to warm up to their optimum operating temperature. That optimum temperature is critical for keeping engine efficiency at its peak and harmful emissions at a minimum. But until a vehicle warms up, its engine burns significantly more fuel and spews out additional pollutants. As well, when an engine starts up in frigid (aka Canadian) weather, the oil that lubricates its parts is thick and slow, making the engine work harder to get going, thereby using more fuel and increasing harmful emissions.
Give your vehicle a head start by using a block heater. This will warm the coolant in your engine and allow it to start warm and rise to its optimal operating temperature faster. And that means warm air will flow to the inside of the vehicle through the ventilation system faster as well. To limit the amount of electricity used to operate your block heater, put it on a timer so that it runs for 2 hours before you have to leave.
Some Canadians waste as much as four per cent of their annual fuel consumption idling their vehicles between six and eight minutes a day. Contrary to popular belief, excessive idling is not the best way to warm up your vehicle – driving it is. So get yourself a block heater and use it to warm up your vehicle ahead of time. You'll be saving time, money and the environment.