Which is Better: Air Conditioner on or Windows Down in the Summer?

Which is Better Air Conditioner on or Windows Down in the Summer

Staying cool when it gets hot in Paducah can be a tricky task. If summertime driving has you down, don’t sweat — putting the windows down or using the air conditioner are both fine choices for keeping cool. If you’re not sure which is the more efficient option, it helps to know that the answer depends on a few variables.

How fast you’re driving is a big factor in determining whether opening the windows or using AC is better for your fuel economy (and, by extension, your wallet). Fueleconomy.gov recommends rolling the windows down at lower speeds and turning on the air conditioner at higher speeds, though some tests suggest that the difference is negligible or nonexistent.

It’s believed that driving with the windows down at high speeds creates drag, which decreases fuel efficiency as much as running the air conditioning. But, again, there’s no consensus here with Consumer Reports saying that it saw no difference in fuel economy.

Ultimately, your best bet may be to consider that doing either will impact your vehicle’s real-world fuel economy. According to fueleconomy.gov, it can go down as much as 25 percent if you use the AC on short trips. To get the best of efficiency and comfort, it’s recommended that you never use the AC more than needed, never set the temperature lower than you need, and turn the AC when you’re idling.

Another suggestion is to drive with the windows down first before putting on the air conditioner as it will let out the hot air and give your system less work to do. You can also put less strain on your AC by parking in the shade and maintaining the coolant on a regular basis.

The summertime is undoubtedly sweltering in Paducah, so why not match the heat with a red-hot, new-to-you car? Visit Chip Wynn Motors in Paducah, Kentucky, and check out our wide selection of quality used vehicles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *