According to the Society of Automotive Engineers, on an average, the fuel consumption goes up by 5 to 10 percent if the AC is on, whereas, when driving at speeds of more than 55 miles per hour (88.5 kilometers approx. per hour), with the windows rolled down, gas consumption increases by almost 20 percent.
Today, with the price of gas scaling new heights, most people would go an extra mile to increase the mileage of their car. Saving gas is not only beneficial on your pocket, but also to the environment. So, in a bid to save gas, most people do not use the AC in the car. And this, perhaps, seems to be the easiest way to save gas? But is it really?
Most people believe more gas is consumed when the car is driven with its windows rolled down and the AC on. Well, it is true. But, it is also true that gas is also not saved with the windows down and AC off. Here is a quick disclosure of whether using the AC in the car affects the mileage and gas consumption. Let us take a look.
Does Using the AC in Your Car Consume More Gas?
◢ We could say there are two considerations when it comes to the use of air conditioning and saving gas. Firstly, it depends on the make of the car and how the compressor in your car works. The second factor to consider is called drag, or the change in air dynamics inside and outside the car, which in simple terms, can be called air resistance.
However, even in an aerodynamic design, if the windows are rolled down, the air easily enters the car and creates resistance, which affects the fuel consumption, as here again the engine has to pump extra energy to overcome this resistance and maintain speed.
◢ So, even when you are driving without the AC on to save fuel, rolling down the windows will create drag or air resistance. So here, again, there is going to be more work for the engine to pump energy and force, using extra gas.
In some cases, the drag is so powerful, that it takes more fuel to supply energy and speed with the windows rolled down, than it would take to drive with the AC running.
◢ According to the Society of Automotive Engineers, on an average the fuel consumption goes up by 5 to 10 percent if the AC is on, whereas, when driving at speeds of more than 55 miles per hour (88.5 kilometers approx. per hour), with the windows rolled down, fuel consumption increases by almost 20 percent.
◢ So, we could say that the best bet is driving at low speeds with the windows down, and at high speeds one can turn the cooling system on. To save gas, alter the use of AC, according to the mentioned guidelines. It is wise to know when you really 'need' the AC on, and when it is OK to leave the windows rolled down.
Does running the AC in a car increase gas consumption? A very direct answer is 'yes' it does, there is no denying that the engine does need extra fuel to power cooling. But, other factors like air resistance (drag) created when the windows are rolled down, also increase the gas consumption of the car.