When it gets warm or even "hot" outside, your air conditioner becomes your best friend. This is most definitely true in your car, where temperatures can sky rocket to 40 degrees centigrade under direct sunlight.
But most people these days are under the impression that the more you run your air conditioner the more fuel your car will consume.
Now that fuel prices are higher than the cost to eat at McDonald's, people are starting to take precautions and do what they can to help with their cars economy.
The assumption that running your air conditioner burns way more fuel is somewhat untrue.
Leaving your air conditioner off makes barely any difference in the amount of fuel you burn. With the introduction of modern and more efficient cars, this myth is may no longer hold any water!
The air conditioner draws its power from the engine which uses some fuel, but with today's cars, this use of fuel is minute. The air conditioner can decrease the economy of your car up to 20% in some vehicles, but it depends on the type.
Driving with the air conditioner is more 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 fuel than if you just close the windows and ran your air conditioner.
In the long run, using your air conditioner is far better than any other means of cooling yourself off in the car, unless you're driving in traffic.
When you drive in traffic you aren't going very fast so the drag on the car is minimal. In these cases, you burn more fuel running the air conditioner than having the windows down.
That makes sense. When you drive on the highway you can use either the air conditioner or the "window down" method to cool yourself, because, honestly, there is no noticeable difference in fuel usage at those speeds.
Here are some tips about you and the heat in your car. Before you get into a hot car, roll down the windows and let the trapped hot air out.
There is nothing worse than getting into a hot car, sitting on a lava hot seat, touching a super-hot steering wheel, and breathing stuffy super-heated air.
Your car needs some time to cool down for it and for you. Once you believe it is cool enough to actually sit on the seat, turn on the car and run the air conditioner on recirculation.
This will help the car cool down much quicker, and you can be on the road fast without sacrificing a layer of your precious skin.
So now that you know the air conditioner can be your efficient friend, maybe you won't be so quick to turn it off or ignore it in favour of putting the windows down and choking on bugs.
The air conditioner in your car burns much less fuel than your window method, so give your air conditioner a chance and be cool in the heat.