Automotive Tips

Does Using the AC Hurt Gas Mileage?

Technician_Car_4The topic of whether or not running your vehicle’s air conditioner affects gas mileage has been debated for years. Consumer Report put several cars to the test and published their findings in their Gas-savings Tips and Myths yths article. Since the AC system relies on the vehicle’s engine for power, it only makes sense that the fuel economy goes down when you turn the air up. Read on to find out just how much AC impacts your vehicle’s gas mileage.

How Much Your Vehicle’s AC Affects Fuel Economy

The Consumer Report study noted a correlation between the amount of fuel a vehicle used and the temperatures outside. At 55 degrees Fahrenheit, the difference in fuel economy was minimal. But as temperatures pushed into the low 70s and peaked in the high 80s, the vehicles gas mileage took a dip, reducing the mileage between one and four mpg. While it’s good news the drop is relatively small, drivers should be aware that running their vehicle’s air conditioner does hurt fuel economy.

Other Ways to Improve Gas Mileage

Monitoring your AC use can result in a slight change in your vehicle’s gas mileage, and there are plenty of other tips to increase fuel economy:

  • Slow down to save more. By driving 55 instead of 75, you can better your gas mileage up to 15mpg.
  • Avoid driving around with objects on your roof. Luggage, surfboards, and other large items you strap to your roof increase aerodynamic drag, and the wind resistance it creates reduces fuel economy.

Since you now know how much running your AC is costing you at the pump, you can decide if it’s worth it. Many drivers who rely on their vehicle’s air conditioning system rely on Jiffy Lube to provide top-notch preventative maintenance. Our crews provide spectrum of AC services including serpentine belt replacements, and system evacuation and recharges. Visit our Locations page to find the Jiffy Lube nearest you.

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