Summer heat can be brutal, especially during long car rides. But running the air conditioning constantly in your vehicle wastes a lot of gas, or does it? Read on to explore whether leaving the windows down in your car or running the AC saves more gas.
Cranking the AC Does Burn Gas
The AC doesn’t run on gas. But when you turn up your air conditioner in your car, it decreases your gas mileage by about 3 miles per gallon since its diverting energy away from the engine. So if you’re going on a road trip, having the AC run the entire time will burn gas quicker.
Rolling the Windows Down Doesn’t Solve the Problem
Although running the AC does burn gas, leaving your windows down is actually less fuel-efficient. When you roll down the windows in your car, the wind entering your vehicle creates a “drag” that causes your vehicle to work harder to get to the same speed.
So, Windows Down or AC?
The best plan of attack is to keep the windows down when you’re driving through the city or town, then roll them up and turn on the AC once you hit the highway. The amount of gas you save with either way depends on the size and design of your car, so it’s best to use your judgment on a hot day.
Get Your AC Checked Before the Heat Hits
If gas mileage is a big concern, be sure to have your air conditioning checked before the summer hits. An air conditioner system that is old or worn out will divert even more energy from your engine to do the same amount of work, burning through even more gas. To ensure you get the best out of your AC, have your mechanic check it when you bring your car in for a regular check-up.
Want to make sure your car is ready for the heat? Take it into Quality Lube Plus so you’ll be prepared for those summer drives.