DISCLAIMER: Many people have noted that it is beneficial to warm up the car for the sake of the TRANSMISSION, but the focus of the article is on the myths of warming up the "engine" and how your fuel efficiency is affected.

With all the cold weather we've had this week, plenty of people have been starting their cars early to "warm-up the engine." Well, it turns out that that's just a myth.

A study in 2009 found that, on average, Americans think they should idle their car for about 5 minutes when the temps drop below 32 degrees. While it may be beneficial for YOU because the INSIDE of the car gets warm, it does virtually nothing for the actual engine of your car. It's only necassary on older cars that still have carburetors, because in the 1990's, most cars had electronic fuel injectors, which compensate for the temperature. The engine ACTUALLY warms up quicker when it's being driven. Plus, your fuel consumption goes up 7-14% when you idle for 5 minutes, and 12-19% when you idle for 10.

So, if you like the inside of your car nice and toasty when you get in, keep warming it up! Just know that you don't have to do it for the engine.