Motorists waste millions of dollars worth of fuel each year, by leaving their cars to idle with the engine running in order to defrost them, a new study of regular drivers by a British insurance company has discovered.
The fuel wasted equates to millions of kilometres in a country with New Zealand's size of fleet and would enable someone to drive an average size car several hundred times around the world.
Despite the average driver only leaving their car engine running for only three minutes, the increasing cost of fuel means that motorists are paying increasing amounts to simply heat up a car.
The study also found that 5 per cent of motorists leave their car running for 10 minutes or longer before they set off on their journey.
Some 42 per cent of those Brits surveyed also admitted to leaving their cars unattended with the keys in the ignition, which leaves them vulnerable to car thefts as well as possibly invalidating their car insurance.
"It is really important that drivers never leave their cars unattended with the keys in the ignition under any circumstances, but particularly when defrosting their cars,'' Steve Price the head of Direct Line Car Insurance, said.
"Many of us are pressed for time in the mornings and so leaving your car to warm up whilst running back indoors to tie up some loose ends can seem like a clever use of our time.
"However, if a theft occurs under these circumstances policyholders may not be covered."