Does Car AC Use Gas?

Clean air vents in a modern car

Does car AC use gas? It sure does. Like many other on-board features, your vehicle’s air conditioning system uses gas by drawing energy from the alternator, which is in turn powered by the engine. Since your engine needs fuel to run, the AC system actually does consume a little gas, but in some situations it can be more efficient to use it than to keep it off. If you want to find out how your car’s AC system works and how it impacts gas mileage, simply read on.

How Does Your Car’s AC System Work?

You’ll probably have switched on the AC often when the sun is beating down into your car and not even thought about how the system works, but it’s actually pretty simple. Whether you’re in a new vehicle or a used vehicle, all AC systems use a high-pressure gas called refrigerant and feature the following parts:

  • Compressor: Compresses refrigerant from gas to fluid, allowing it to flow to the condenser.
  • Condenser: Draws heat from the refrigerant and moves it along to the expansion valve or orifice tube.
  • Expansion Valve or Orifice Tube: Brings refrigerant back to its original gaseous state and moves it to the receiver/drier or accumulator.
  • Receiver/Drier or Accumulator: Draws moisture from the refrigerant before moving it to the evaporator.
  • Evaporator: Draws heat from air that flows through its core and transfers it to the refrigerant. This results in cold air flowing beyond the evaporator.

Can Using Your Car’s AC System Be Efficient?

The EPA tells us that using your car’s AC system can be more fuel-efficient than driving fast on the highway with windows open. That’s because open windows increase drag, which means your engine needs to work harder.

Other ways to increase your vehicle’s efficiency include:

  • Keeping tires properly inflated and aligned
  • Reducing your speed and driving in a higher gear
  • Not idling for more than 30 seconds
  • Avoiding cheap engine oil
  • Braking steadily
  • Packing light and removing heavy cargo.

Look to Jaguar Paramus for All the Servicing Tips and Tricks You Need

If you ever suspect there’s something wrong with your car’s AC system, the team here at Jaguar Paramus can help. Simply get in touch today for any further advice or assistance.

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