How to Use My Car’s A/C Without Reducing My Fuel Economy

It is estimated that the use of your vehicles Air Conditioning System can reduce fuel economy by up to 20%.  However, for many people, A/C is not an option during the sweltering summer days.  Others may opt to roll the windows down instead of using the A/C, though it's important to understand that rolling the windows down creates an effect known as "drag" that also decreases fuel economy.   So what can you do to help offset the unavoidable reduction in fuel economy caused by trying to beat the summer heat?

  • Avoid Driving with a Lead Foot.  Accelerating or braking at a more moderate pace can improve fuel economy anywhere from 10% to 40% depending on traffic patterns.  Thus, careful driving and measured use of the pedals alone can offset the increase in fuel economy caused by A/C system use.
  • Slow Down.  While we recommend always sticking to the speed limit or lower for safety reasons, doing so can also boost your fuel economy.  It is estimated that fuel efficiency begins progressively decreasing at speeds above 50 mph.  Fortunately for residents of Fairfield County, almost all roads within the county lines have a speed limit of 55 mph or less.
  • Ensure Tires are Properly Inflated.  Most vehicles have the recommended tire pressure listed on the inside of the driver's door in PSI units.  Ensuring your tires maintain this pressure ensures optimal fuel economy by eliminating any excess rolling resistance caused by underinflated tires.
  • Change the Engine Air Filter.  The engine air filter is designed to remove any particles or debris from the air entering the engine.  As you would expect, the filter can become clogged over time decreasing the amount of air that can reach the engine and thereby resulting in reduced vehicle performance. 
  • Get the Oil Changed Regularly.  Changing the oil in your vehicle at the recommended intervals ensures that dirt and debris can't build up in the engine and that the parts of the engine maintain proper lubrication to ensure optimal performance.  It is imperative to use high quality oil and the oil type recommended for your specific vehicle.
  • Remove Unnecessary Cargo.  The more weight a vehicle needs to carry, the lower the fuel economy.  So, if you tend to store everything in your trunk or toss items in your backseat to "deal with later," we recommend taking the time to clean out your vehicle and remove any trash or personal items that are not essential to have with you.

If you are in need of an oil change, tire pressure check, engine air filter change, or any other preventative maintenance to ensure you are maximizing your vehicle's fuel economy, call or text us today to schedule an appointment!

Call: (203) 761-9541

Text: (203) 529-6748

Avatar photo

Written by Wilton Auto and Tire Center