Warming up the car?

I read an article via E&T magazine the other day about the carbon cost of 'warming up the car' on winter mornings before driving off and wondered how many people still do such a thing? 

I remember in the 1970's some of our neighbours would always have their car idling for a while and vaguely remember them saying something about getting the oil circulating around the engine first before driving off. But as far as I'm aware, there is absolutely no need to do that nowadays with modern cars, if it was ever needed before anyway! The manual of my own car specifically states that it should not be started and left in an idling state but should be driven as soon as the engine is on.

Warming up the interior of my own car on a winter's morning consists of me making sure the heated seat is on (which can be felt around 2 minutes into the journey Relieved) although one thing I struggle with on occasion is de-misting the windscreen which can take longer. However I bought myself a telescopic handled de-mister pad that I wipe over the inside before I switch on the ignition.

Out of interest is it (or was it ever) necessary to idle a car before driving off? Were my 1970's neighbours correct? Thinking 

  any tips from the experts in the Automotive and road transport systems Network? 

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