CINCINNATI — Cooling down your car in hot weather is likely running down your gas, especially at a time when nationwide gas prices are more than 60% higher than they were a year ago, according to AAA.
The U.S. Department of Energy says running your car’s A/C is the main cause of reduced fuel economy during hot weather and can reduce the average car’s fuel economy by more than 25%, especially on short trips.
Rolling down your windows can have an impact too. Open windows add wind resistance, which forces your car to work harder.
The department says speed plays a factor in which is more efficient. At lower speeds, when resistance is low, the department recommends rolling down your windows to cool off. At highway speeds, roll the windows up and rely on your A/C.
Don’t use the A/C more than necessary or at a lower temperature than required. The department also warns against idling with the A/C on in an effort to cool the car down, as most A/C units work faster when you’re already driving.
Heat can lead to other issues with your car. Tire pressure can increase in heat. AAA warns it’s important to keep tires at normal pressure, as soft tires generate heat and can lead to a blowout.