Does Putting Your Windows Down Use Less Gas Than Running Your AC?

June 28, 2023

In sunny Tampa, Florida, having a car without air conditioning can make any journey a chore, especially during the summer months.

Many car owners at Ice Cold Air often ask us a common question: does rolling down the windows use less gas than running the AC? 

This belief stems from the theory that AC uses additional power, which may affect fuel efficiency. Let’s explore the truth behind this popular myth, inspired by the professionals at Ice Cold Air and an unforgettable episode of MythBusters. 

Unraveling the Myth: AC vs. Windows Down

The theory suggests two main points: that running the AC increases the engine load, resulting in more gas consumption; and that driving with the windows down causes aerodynamic drag, which could also affect the car’s fuel efficiency. 

The MythBusters team put this theory to the test in an episode, conducting an experiment with two identical cars, one using AC and the other with windows rolled down. The results were quite enlightening. 

Evaluating the Effect on Fuel Efficiency

The MythBusters found that at highway speeds, cars were indeed more fuel-efficient with the AC on rather than having the windows down. The added drag from the open windows at high speeds decreased aerodynamic efficiency more than the load from the AC. 

However, at lower speeds, the results might differ. Rolling down the windows may not cause as much drag, and the AC’s load on the engine could have a more pronounced effect on gas usage. 

What Does This Mean For Your Driving Habits?

If you’re someone who spends a lot of time on the highway, using your AC might be the more fuel-efficient option. However, if you’re driving around Tampa’s city streets, rolling down the windows could save you a few dollars at the pump. 

But remember, comfort is also a critical factor, especially in Tampa’s heat. Even if there is a slight difference in gas usage, the comfort provided by your car’s AC system on a hot day can often outweigh the minor savings. 

Beat the Heat with Ice Cold Air!

Whether you choose to roll down your windows or blast the AC, Ice Cold Air is committed to ensuring your vehicle is ready to handle Tampa’s heat. We offer a range of automotive services, including AC repairs and fuel efficiency checks. 

Don’t let the summer heat get the best of you! Contact Ice Cold Air today and let our expert team ensure you stay cool on the road. 

Right arrow
PreviousNextRight arrow