Guess how much money we as a nation would save if we stopped honking? Ac cording to a back-of-the envelope calculation by a Mumbai-based electrical engineer, it’s a staggering Rs 245 crore per year.Enough to feed around 55 lakh poor people for a month.

The estimate by S K Patel, governing council member of Lions Clubs International, matches the total number of vehicles on the roads with the average number of times people honk and the electrical energy or diesel that goes into charging car batteries, to come up with this figure.

Consider the numbers: The vehicle population in India, including two, three, four and multiple axle vehicles, is around 72.7 crore units.The average wattage consumption of a car horn is 75 watts with the biggest being fitted in trucks and the smallest in two-wheelers. The average time a horn is pressed is 1.5 seconds. Thus, the number of electrical units consumed by a horn every time we honk is 0.00003125. Given that the average number of honks per hour is six times and a vehicle’s average time on the road is eight hours a day, the power consumed by honking per day by vehicles across the country -7 4, 7 0 , 0 0 , 0 0 0 ve h i c l e s x 0.00003125 units per click x 6 times per hour x 8 hours a day -will be 11,20,500 units.

Now, given the average cost is `6 per unit, the total electric power wasted in honking every day is `67.23 lakh (11,20,500 units x `6). This adds up to a wastage of `245 crore per year (`67,23,000 x 365 days).

Of course, the number of hours on the road is more for commercial vehicles and less for private ones.Also, honking is more common on city roads than on highways.

Besides, power consumed by horns may vary across manufacturers and the type of horns fitted in a vehicle. This calculation, though, gives an indication of the enormous waste that Indian drivers tot up simply by pressing the horn.

“If we use this money to feed families below poverty line and if we consider an average of five members per family , we can feed around 55 lakh for one month with `245 crore,” said Patel, whose calculation uses data from various sources.

The number of vehicles is derived from a World Bank-funded ministry of road transport and highways survey. Vehicle population data has been compiled using production information collected from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers and Open Government Data (OGD) Platform India. Population of vehicles has been derived from different sources, including RTO registration. As for the cost of power, Patel said: “If we charge all those batteries used to power vehicle horns, we will need electricity worth `245 crore from the usual 220V domestic electric supply.”