Monday, June 06, 2005

A 'cool' car: AC or open windows?

How to get a dash of cold and/or fresh air in your car?

With the temperature rising you see a lot of windows being lowered. Surprisingly, the best way AND the most economic way is to actually leave your windows rolled up and to turn on your AC. Due to the advancements in technology it is now more energy-efficient to use your cars AC than to lower your windows. The latter distorts the airflow around the car and increases the drag. This additional drag leads to about a 4 to 6% rise in your fuel consumption. Turning on the AC also increases fuel consumption, but with modern cars it only adds about 2 to 4%. It also gives you cool air in your morning and afternoon traffic jams whereas open windows don't just not give you cool air at that moment, but do let the exhaust fumes of your fellow commuters come in freely...

So, the next time you are in your car, use the AC. Oh, one last thing: for an efficient use of the AC in a car that's been out in the sun for a while, roll down your windows for the first 30secs to let the hot air out. It saves you from using the AC on 'full-blast' to feel comfortable.

Happy summer driving, folks.

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