It's that time of year where many of us question WHY we live where we do.  As a matter of fact, a lot of the U.S. is getting hit by a wicked cold front.

The Washington Post just did a story on whether or not warming up your car before you drive actually does anything.  And the answer is . . . NO.  Or, at least it doesn't do anything beneficial for the car itself.

It used to be necessary back when cars had carburetors, which need the engine to warm up before they'll work right.  But by the 1990's, almost all cars had electronic fuel injectors, which automatically compensate for the temperature.

So as long as you're not in a 30-year-old car, you probably don't need to let it warm up.  The only practical reason to do it is so the inside of the car gets warm, or so you can crank the defrost, which is probably why most people do it.

But if you're running late for work, there's no need to sit there waiting and worrying if the engine is ready.  You could also end up wasting a decent amount of gas.  A 2009 survey found that when it's cold out, the average person lets their car warm up for about five minutes.

And a test showed that when it's right around zero degrees, letting your car idle for just five minutes can increase your total fuel consumption by 7 to 14%.

Okay...so maybe the car below needs to warm up...just a little.

(Getty Images)