As Brazil experiences a heatwave, drivers are grappling with a common question: Does turning on the car’s air conditioning result in higher fuel consumption? We’re here to provide clear answers to help you decide if it’s worth using AC during this hot weather. We’ll guide you in making the best choice to stay cool without emptying your wallet.
So, does using air conditioning in your car increase fuel consumption?
According to Hélder Giostri Alves de Almeida, an Engineering Coordinator at Ibmec BH, the answer is yes. It’s a proven fact that using air conditioning does lead to higher fuel consumption, but the extent of the increase depends on your specific car and is explained in your car’s manual. It can be approximately 25% to 30% higher.
Here’s the reason: When you activate the air conditioning, it triggers a component known as the compressor, which is connected to your car’s engine. This compressor requires extra energy to function, and that extra energy comes from burning more fuel.
Now, you might be tempted to think that turning off the AC completely would save you fuel, right? Well, not exactly. Hélder explains that driving with your windows open also increases fuel consumption because it makes your car work harder against the resistance caused by the incoming air. This means your car needs more fuel to overcome this resistance.
But here’s the catch: When you’re driving at low speeds in the city, having your windows open doesn’t have a significant impact on fuel consumption. So, it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether you’d rather spend a bit more on fuel for the comfort of closed windows or save on fuel and drive with the windows down.