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Dirty Energy & Fuel

Turn Off Your Air Conditioning and Save Fuel

Turning your car’s air conditioning off when it starts becoming a little fresh outside could save a lot of fuel.

[social_buttons]A new study undertaken by the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (EMPA) on behalf of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) has determined that turning the air conditioning off in your car when the temperature is below 18 degrees Celsius (64 degrees Fahrenheit) could save two thirds of additional fuel usage.

For a country with a temperate climate like Switzerland this could result in a total reduction of fuel consumption of some two percent across the whole country. But in other countries where the temperature is regularly hotter and the air conditioning accounts for up to thirty percent of fuel consumption, this figure could rise dramatically.

The study looked at six modern cars, both diesel and petrol models, with the air conditioning switched on and off under a variety of ambient temperatures and humidities.  The results, which have been published in the scientific journal Environmental Science and Technology show that the fuel consumption when the air conditioner is on rises with increased air temperature and humidity outside the car.

On a typical Swiss summer day with an air temperature of 27 degrees and relative humidity of 60 percent, the petrol fuelled test vehicles with air conditioning in operation saw a value of fuel consumption value of eighteen percent. Based on the standard climate model this number drops to an average of 5.4 percent over a whole year. Diesel vehicles tested were somewhat lower.

Psychological studies have found that the average drivers likes to have the air temperature around the head at around 23 degrees, which means that if the temperature outside is below 18 degrees Celsius then the car’s air conditioning needn’t be turned on at all without any loss of comfort.

With all things considered, it seems a small thing for a government to do if they were to make studies like this well known and publicise the findings. A two percent reduction in fuel consumption might not sound a lot straight off the bat, but when you consider that it is across a whole country, and that the figure could grow in hotter climes, then it becomes a lot more significant.

Source: EMPA

Image Source: BY-YOUR-⌘




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