Does Running the AC Use Gas?

Car AC Button

If you’re asking if car AC uses gas, you probably already know the answer. Yes, using your car’s air conditioning also uses up more fuel than not using it. You might have noticed the engine sound differently when you switch the AC on driving around Rumson or Colts Neck, and that’s normal too (but if it sounds really different, you might want to visit our service center). But if you’re trying to drive efficiently and stay comfortable, keeping the AC on might actually be the smart move.

How Car AC Works

Whether you drive a Jaguar or not, your air conditioning probably works about the same way. A high-pressure refrigerant is used to keep your vehicle cool, and the AC system is made of the following parts:

  • Compressor — this part compresses the refrigerant to keep it fluid and flowing through a line to the condenser.
  • Condenser — at this stage, your AC removes the heat from the refrigerant and pushes it along to the expansion valve or orifice tube.
  • Expansion valve or orifice tube — here, your refrigerant returns to a gaseous state and moves to the receiver or the accumulator.
  • Receiver/drier or accumulator — this system removes any moisture from the refrigerant, then sends it to the evaporator.
  • Evaporator — your evaporator absorbs heat from the air passing through it, which it transfers to the refrigerant. The result is cool air that is blown through your vents.

Before the air enters your vehicle, it almost certainly passes through your cabin air filter, too.

Can Using Car AC Be Fuel-Efficient?

It can be tempting to just put the windows down while driving to stay cool, but if you’re on the highway, that can actually be less efficient than using the AC. According to the EPA, using your car’s AC during highway driving is often more efficient than rolling the windows down. We’re going to jump back to high school science class for a second and talk about drag.

With the windows down, you can feel the air coming in, and it pushes you back. If you kept the windows up, that air would glide along the side of the vehicle, but having the windows down means your car has to fight with drag — and the amount of gas you spend doing that is usually more than it takes to run your AC. So does car AC use gas? Yes, but sometimes it’s still the most efficient way to stay cool.

Learn More About Your Vehicle at Jaguar Monmouth!

If you find your AC isn’t working, fixing it isn’t something you can do at home, like jump starting a car. If you have additional questions or need AC service, contact us or schedule an appointment at our service center near Rumson and Red Bank! We’ll make sure your AC is in top shape and ready to keep you cool.

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105 State Hwy 36 • Eatontown, NJ 07724

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Jaguar Monmouth 39.9174056, -74.0794598.