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maintenance August 06, 2015

True or False: Driving with the air conditioner on affects your gas mileage?

True or False: Driving with the air conditioner on affects your gas mileage?

This is actually FALSE and yet an ongoing myth.

Many drivers are under the impression that the more you run your air conditioner the more gas your car will use. However, leaving your air conditioner turned off doesn’t make much of an impact on the amount of gas you use.  

In most cases, driving with the air conditioner ON is more fuel-efficient than driving with the windows down. Driving with the windows down creates “drag” which means that your engine has to work harder to keep your car at the current speed, this burns more gas than if you just ran your air conditioner.

To improve your gas mileage during the summer season’s hot weather, consider these tips:

  • Park in the shade or use a sunshade so that the cabin doesn't get as hot
  • Drive with the windows open for a short time before using the AC. Letting hot air out of the cabin first will put less demand on the AC and help your vehicle cool faster
  • Keep the air conditioner at a consistent temperature, do not dramatically fluctuate the temperature setting
  • Don't idle with the AC running before driving. Turn the AC on after you begin to drive or after airing out the cabin briefly. Most AC systems will cool the vehicle faster while driving
  • Roll the windows down at lower speeds; use the AC at highway speeds


Stay cool while summer heats up! Virginia Tire and Auto will make sure that your air conditioner is operating effectively and at its highest performance. You can make an appointment by clicking HERE!

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