(NC) You might call it the best kept eco-driving secret of all – using fresh air while driving in the city instead of air conditioning to keep you cool. Aside from giving you a nice, cool blast of fresh air while you drive, driving with the windows down, or with your sunroof open, is easier on fuel compared to using air conditioning. In fact, air conditioning can increase fuel consumption by as much as 20 per cent.
The Office of Energy Efficiency at Natural Resources Canada has compiled these tips for cooling off without turning on the A/C.
Chill out and turn it off. Consider whether you really need the A/C for cooling. If not, turn it off.
Hit the re-circulation button. Recirculated air uses less energy because you’re only cooling the air already in your vehicle, not bringing in warmer outside air to be cooled.
Let the air flow. Try using the flow-through ventilation when you’re on the highway and open your windows and sunroof while driving in the city.
Be cool and don’t over air-condition. Adjust your thermostat settings the way you do at home. Aim to be comfortable not cold.
Find a little shade. Park your vehicle in the shade as it will requires less cooling from the A/C at start-up. If you can’t find a shaded area, use window shades to lower the heat intake of your vehicle when it’s parked. Also, never use the A/C on startup. Instead, open the windows for the first few minutes and allow the hot air to escape.
Be a knowledgeable buyer. Be sure to ask if a vehicle has an A/C system with an “econo” mode or smart controls that help reduce fuel consumption.
Savings are based on a fuel price of $1.09/L and a CO2 emissions factor of 2.3 kg/L of gasoline. CREDIT: NRCan