Does Car AC Use Gas?

car air conditioning

The answer is yes! LIke many other of your car’s systems, the AC system uses gas by drawing energy from the alternator, which is powered by the engine. Since you need fuel to power the engine, you need fuel to power your AC system. In some situations, you can actually run more efficiently by not using the AC. Read on to find out how the system works and how it impacts gas mileage.

How Your Vehicle’s AC Works

Nearly all car AC systems run using refrigerant, a type of high-pressure gas, to keep you cool around Newark and Paterson. Further parts include:

  • Compressor: Compresses the refrigerant into a fluid so it can flow through to the condenser.
  • Condenser: Takes heat from the refrigerant and moves it to the expansion valve or orifice tube.
  • Expansion Valve/Orifice Tube: Returns the refrigerant to a gaseous state and brings it to the receiver/drier or accumulator.
  • Receiver/Drier or Accumulator: Absorbs moisture from the refrigerant and sends it to the evaporator.
  • Evaporator: Pulls heat from the passing air and transfers it into the refrigerant.

How Does the AC Impact Efficiency?

The EPA tells us that using your car’s AC system should be more efficient while driving on the highway than while leaving the windows open. That’s because open windows increase aerodynamic drag, meaning your engine has to work harder and burn more fuel. That’s good news if you rely on air conditioning for highway commutes into Passaic. If you’re asking ‘does car ac waste gas?’, the answer isn’t always yes.

Other Ways to Improve Fuel Economy

Of course, there are other ways to boost fuel economy, including:

  • Gradual braking
  • Keeping tires properly inflated and wheels aligned
  • Not idling for more than 30 seconds
  • Packing light
  • Using sun reflectors
  • Not using cheap engine oil
  • Reducing your speed and driving in a higher gear

Learn More About Your AC System at

‘Does running the ac use gas?’ If you still need to know more, feel like getting service tips, or want to hear about one of our used vehicles, don’t hesitate to get in touch today. 

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