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Air Conditioners and Fuel Efficiency

When a car is idling and the air conditioner is turned on, the engine revs increase. This is because the air conditioning unit compressor requires a lot of power to spin up and chill the warm air down. This extra drain on the engine, reduces performance and increases fuel consumption.

When the weather dictates, an air conditioner is a vital part of everyday driving. Your first idea might be to turn off the air-con and open the windows. This is known to be even worse for a car’s fuel consumption as air rushing in the windows and being trapped inside the cabin causes huge drag, which ruins the aerodynamics of a car. This causes worse fuel consumption than having the air conditioning turned on.

When travelling at a higher speed, it would be more efficient to use the air conditioning. For city driving and stop-start driving it is best to open the windows, as the volume of air is much less than at higher speeds. Knowing and understanding these factors will reduce the fuel consumption of your vehicle and be more environmentally friendly.

When starting a car’s engine, the fuel required to spark it into life is far more than when the engine is warm and on a steady run. Therefore, fuel consumption will be tremendous if the air conditioning is turned on from initial start up. If it is hot inside the car before start up, open the windows to allow the warm air to disperse.

Keeping in mind these features of air conditioners and their effects on fuel consumption will not only help you save a few dollars every fill up but it is also a little better for the environment. Of course, if the air conditioning is not needed, switch it off and save your fuel bill.

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