Does Using Your Air Conditioner Really Affect Gas Mileage?

June 11th, 2015 by

Air conditioningIn the summertime, your air conditioner can become your best friend and salvation. Especially in your car, where temperatures rise to much higher than outside, much faster. But the assumption is that running your system can increase the amount of gasoline you burn through, which prevents people from utilizing their car’s air conditioner in favor of other cooling methods. So does using your A/C really decrease your mpg? The short answer: not really. Schedule an appointment and fix your A/C if it’s broken before the heat really kicks in!

A/C and Overall Gas Usage

It is true that the air conditioners in cars are powered by the cars’ engines. But the usage of this gas is miniscule. With some very old cars, this was a real concern, as A/C units could decrease the fuel economy of a vehicle up to 20%. But nowadays, the systems are much more efficient.

The real drain on fuel economy is driving with the windows rolled down. That’s right. The air conditioner is much more efficient than driving with the windows down, as it keeps the aerodynamics of your car intact. Windows rolled down means an increase in drag, which can seriously affect your mpg by making your car work harder to drive at the same speed.

Hot Weather Driving Plan

In the long run, the A/C is the best way to cool yourself down when you’re on the move. It’s not perfect in every situation, though, like if you’re stuck in traffic. At slow speeds, drag doesn’t create a noticeable effect, and running the A/C would increase the amount of gas burning in stop-and-go traffic.

Before you get into your oven-like car, roll down the windows and let it air out. You don’t want to melt into the seat and fuse your hands to the steering wheel. Once you can safely sit on the seat, turn on the car and run the air conditioner on recirculation. This will cool the car down quicker, and you’ll be on your way in no time.

The A/C is not a gas guzzling monstrosity, and you don’t have to suffer in the heat. Yes, it will affect your gas mileage, but not more than keeping the windows down all the time. For more info on driving in certain conditions, contact Bosak Honda Michigan City.

Posted in Driving Tips