It is the age old debate, one that has plagued Shorewood area drivers for decades. When the Illinois summer heat makes its presence felt, should you roll up the windows and crank up the AC, or should you leave the windows down and let the passing air cool down the interior of the vehicle?
If you have lived in Shorewood, Illinois for some time, you have probably had this argument more than once. Maybe your spouse feels that AC is a waste of fuel and money, or that cranking up the air conditioning is bad for the environment. Perhaps you feel that opening the windows does nothing but increase drag on the vehicle, reducing the mileage and costing you more money at the pump.
Does AC Really Waste Gas?
SO which side is right, and which spouse wins the argument? It depends on a number of factors, but modern vehicles are designed with a very low drag coefficient. That means they can operate quite efficiently with the windows rolled up and the AC on, so you should not feel guilty about cooling down your car on those hot Shorewood days.
At the same time, there is a case to be made for the gas guzzling impact of automotive air conditioning. Speed matters a lot here, so think about how you drive and where you are going before you crank up the AC and close up the windows. If you will be cruising down the highway at high speed, you are probably better off using the AC, but if you are running around town, the lower speed could make opening the windows the more fuel-efficient choice.
How Efficient is Your AC?
As you can see, the decision to crank up the AC or roll down the windows is more nuanced than it might seem. There are many factors at play here, including the efficiency of your air conditioning unit.
If your AC is running at peak efficiency, cranking it up should not have a huge impact on your fuel economy. On the other hand, if your AC needs service or is not fully charged, you may waste a lot of gas to bring the interior to a comfortable temperature.
If you want to save fuel and keep your fuel costs under control, start with an efficient air conditioning system. If you have not had your AC serviced recently, it may be time for a tune-up. When the service is complete, you can turn up the AC without guilt, and put the argument to rest once and for all.