Does Car AC Use Gas?

Air Conditioning Button

Chances are you’ve heard that using the air conditioning system in your car wastes gas. Does the AC burn car gas? Yes, using the AC system does require gas, but there are situations where using the AC is better than not using it. Like many of your car’s features, the AC system is powered by the alternator, which is powered by the engine. The engine requires fuel to generate power. Read on to learn more from our service team about how the AC system in a car works and how you can boost your gas mileage as you drive around Pleasant Grove. 



How Car AC Works 

Air conditioning systems in cars generally work the same way, regardless of make and model. All cars use a high-pressure gas called refrigerant to power the AC. The AC system is compromised of the following components: 

  • Compressor – Compresses the refrigerant into a fluid, so it can simply flow to the condenser. 
  • Condenser – Reduces the temperature of the refrigerant and transfers it to the expansion valve/orifice tube. 
  • Expansion Valve/Orifice Tube – Converts the refrigerant back to its gaseous state, then sends it to the receiver/drier (or the accumulator). 
  • Accumulator – Reduces the moisture of the refrigerant and sends it to the evaporator. 
  • Evaporator – Siphons heat from the air that moves through its core and sends the heat to the refrigerant. This results in cooled air flowing from the evaporator. 

Can Using Car AC Be Fuel-Efficient? 

In certain situations, using your air conditioning system is more fuel-efficient than rolling down the car windows. Rolling your windows down when traveling at highway speeds increases aerodynamic drag, resulting in lowered fuel economy. This causes your engine to work harder than it would if you rolled up the windows and turned on the air conditioning system. 

Other Ways to Improve Fuel Economy

In addition to using your air conditioning system correctly, you can keep the following tips in mind to avoid wasting fuel on your Eagle Mountain drives: 

  • Avoid idling for longer than 30 seconds 
  • Use a sunshade when parked in direct sun
  • Reduce speed and drive in a higher gear 
  • Brake gradually
  • Use high-quality engine oil
  • Don’t pack too many heavy items 
  • Ensure proper tire alignment and inflation

Explore Fuel Efficient Vehicles at Ken Garff Chevrolet 

To recap, does air conditioning in the car use gas? Yes, it does use gas, but you can use the AC efficiently, especially when you use it at highway speeds with the windows up. Do you have more questions about how to preserve the efficiency of your car? Contact our service center online or call us at (801) 960-3340 to learn more about our service menu and prices. Schedule routine service and maintenance to keep your Nissan running efficiently on Lehi roads. 


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