October 6, 2022
ShotPrime Studio/Shutterstock.com,zedspider/Shutterstock.com You’re driving your car on a hot summer day. There are two options to stay cool—put the windows down and enjoy the breeze or turn on the air conditioning. Which one is better for fuel efficiency? Let’s find out. It’s a pretty well-known fact that running the AC in your vehicle has a…

ShotPrime Studio/Shutterstock.com,zedspider/Shutterstock.com

You’re driving your car on a hot summer day. There are two options to stay cool—put the windows down and enjoy the breeze or turn on the air conditioning. Which one is better for fuel efficiency? Let’s find out.

It’s a pretty well-known fact that running the AC in your vehicle has a negative impact on MPG. This is true for both gas and electric vehicles. So rolling the windows down is the better choice for efficiency, right? It’s not that simple.

RELATED: How to Use Fuel-Efficient Routes in Google Maps

It’s All About Air Resistance

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Opening the windows and using the AC both have an impact on MPG, but how they do it is very different. When the windows are open, air that normally would flow over the vehicle goes into the car. This creates resistance known as “drag.”

Cars and other vehicles are designed to be somewhat aerodynamic, which helps minimize air resistance. If air can flow easily around something, it doesn’t push back on it so much. More drag means your vehicle has to work harder to…

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