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How Does Running Your AC Effect Your Fuel Economy?

Car A/CWhile you may already know that running your car’s AC affects your overall fuel economy, you might not know to what degree. Sun Devil Auto is here to answer your questions and let you know just how much gas you’re utilizing while keeping yourself and your passengers cool during the hotter months of the year.

The Basics

Put simply, when you use your air conditioner, it pulls power from the engine and uses more gas than you would had you not turned on the AC. Know that the amount of gas you expend operating your AC is negligible, but that exact amount differs from car to car.

The Factors

There are a number of factors that determine just how much gas you’ll burn by running your air conditioner. Among them include the exterior temperature, the specific model and make of your vehicle, the size of your engine and the current condition of your vehicle. One thing to bear in mind is the fact that running your car’s air conditioner in the hottest of temperatures can increase your total fuel consumption by more than 20 percent. If your vehicle is a hybrid or electric, there’s a chance you’ll consume even more fuel while attempting to keep the interior of your vehicle comfortable.

The Alternatives

If you can’t bear the idea of using more fuel than absolutely necessary while enjoying the open road, know that there are alternatives. For instance, you can always roll your windows down instead of cranking up the AC. That being said, you can still burn more fuel by doing this, because your engine has to work harder to keep your speed up due to the drag created by the wind rushing into the interior of your vehicle.

You should also only use your air conditioner as much as needed to maximize fuel economy. What’s more, your AC temperature shouldn’t be dialed lower than necessary. Keep your car cool in the summer by parking it in the shade and investing in a quality sun shade made specifically for the make and model of your vehicle. Something else to bear in mind is that no matter how tempting it might be to do otherwise, it’s best to turn your air conditioner on once the vehicle is in motion. This is because your vehicle is cooled faster as you’re driving rather than while you’re idle.

The Facts

Have a burning desire to know exactly how much fuel running your air conditioner is costing you? You can determine your fuel economy by testing your vehicle. Drive one week with the air conditioner on. The next week, driving the same distance, without the air conditioner on. You’ll notice the difference afterward by the change in the miles per gallon. Our Service Advisors and Technicians can provide you with tips and steps you can take to make the most of your fuel economy all while staying cool and comfortable.

While summer might be a few months off, it’s never too early to start preparing yourself and your car by getting your AC serviced at Sun Devil Auto.