Idling your vehicle during the winter isn't worth your time or gas, says an expert with the Alberta Motor Association.

"It's a myth with modern vehicles," driving educator Ron Wilson told the Calgary Eyeopener on Wednesday.

"Start the vehicle up, let it idle 30 seconds to a minute and you're on the way."

Any fuel-injected vehicle — the majority of vehicles made from 1980 onward — circulates the oils to get the components ready, "and then you go," Wilson said.

Why idling isn't actually worth your time or gas, according to experts0:42

That goes for modern diesel-fueled vehicles, too.

"A better thing to do in this cold weather when it's –15 C or lower is actually plug in your vehicle," he said. "That way, your vehicle will start easier and it'll be nice and warm when you drive away."

Stolen vehicles

Idling your car unattended — say, when you're getting ready for work — can be dangerous, too, police warn.

Airdrie RCMP report that, of the 29 complaints of stolen vehicles received since the beginning of October, at least a quarter were vehicles left running and warming up with the keys inside.

Reducing your idling time also reduces carbon emissions that are harmful to the environment.

With files from Kathryn Marlow and the Calgary Eyeopener