How does air conditioner use affect gas mileage?
With summer just around the corner, and the temperatures already rising, it is likely that this year, you’ll want to make sure that you have a vehicle that is equipped with a good, working air conditioner. While you can’t really put a price on comfort, using the air conditioner in your vehicle could lead to you having to spend more money when you fill up the gas tank. Though how much your vehicle is affected can change from model to model, there are many ways that using the air conditioning can affect gas mileage.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the effect that hot weather has on your vehicle can actually help your fuel efficiency. With warmer weather, it is easier for your vehicle to produce and use energy, making it more efficient overall. However, that gain is slashed if you have the AC blasting every time you get behind the wheel. The general assumption is that with the AC on, a vehicle’s fuel economy can drop more than 25%.
[Related: How to increase your vehicle’s fuel economy]
How to increase vehicle fuel efficiency in summer
If you’re looking to combat the effects of air conditioning on your vehicle’s fuel economy, there are some easy things that you can do. While some might think that the easiest way is to forgo the AC in favor of rolling down the windows, that can cause drag and mess with the aerodynamics of the vehicle, lowering fuel economy. In order to conserve energy without getting heat stroke, you need to find the middle ground, which generally means only using the air conditioner if you’re going at speeds at or above 40 mph. For any speed below 40 mph, roll down your windows instead.
While these tips can help keep your vehicle more fuel efficient, you may just have an inefficient vehicle. If you’re tired of paying an arm and a leg at the gas pump, visit OkCarz to take a look at their pre-owned vehicle selection, which includes fuel-efficient options, as well as a variety of hybrid models. While you might think that you are unable to secure financing on a vehicle, OkCarz can work to help you find an option that fits your needs.