Drivers warned of how much air conditioning increases fuel consumption as hot weather hits
Weather forecasts are showing that Britons can expect maximum temperatures of above 20 degrees for at least the next two weeks.
The Met Office is also warning that temperatures are set to rocket in June, as well as warm weather over the bank holiday weekend.
Almost 20 million people are also set to hit the roads this bank holiday, and millions more over the half-term holidays, with many relying on the air conditioning to keep them cool.
However, experts are warning that now is the best time to get their air con “re-gassed” by replacing the old refrigerant gas from the system with new gas.
Not only will this improve the efficiency of the air con and keep drivers and passengers cool, but it can also boost how much fuel they get from the tank.
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Graham Conway, from Select Car Leasing, said air con systems naturally lose gas over time, which is why they need to be replaced or topped up, generally every two years.
He added: “Some of the tell-tale signs your system needs a refresh are warm air coming through vents, even when the air-con is on, as well as a damp, mouldy, chemical-like smell coming through the blowers.
“And there’s another reason you should get a re-gas – doing so will actually improve fuel efficiency.
“When refrigerant gas levels are low, the air-con has to work harder to cool the air. And that extra exertion means you end up using more fuel – because the air-con unit draws its power from the engine.”
Letting the air con system run out of gas can also cause further issues down the line, with components potentially seizing or cracking.
In general, running the air conditioning on a warm day typically increases fuel consumption by around eight to 10 percent, compared to not having it on.
This can be seen by the driver on shorter journeys, where the air con needs to work harder to cool the cabin as soon as the engine starts.
Re-gassing the air conditioning usually costs between £60 and £130, but can help drivers save on fuel bills, especially with the warmer weather setting in earlier than normal this year.
Many garages and motoring shops will also offer inspections to see whether a car would need to be re-gassed and how much it would cost to get done.
If people are hesitant to use the air conditioning on a warm summer’s day, opening their windows could also have an impact on their fuel economy.
Opening windows increases the drag of the car, making it less aerodynamic, meaning the engine will have to work harder to keep up with the higher speeds.
Mr Conway continued, saying: “As a general rule of thumb, I’d suggest opening all your car’s windows when you first get in the cabin on a warm day, in order to allow the hot air to escape.
“Once you’re on the move, you can close your windows and revert to the air con. And if you’re travelling above 55 mph, it’s more efficient to use the air-con than it is to open the windows.”
Published at Thu, 25 May 2023 07:22:00 +0000