Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Air Conditioning Vs. Rolled-Down Windows

Slate's Green Lantern confronts the question, "Does it really save gas to roll down your windows instead of flipping on the AC?" The answer is yes.

But the savings are so small, so only the cheapest of cheapskates will roll forgo air conditioning to save money.

Then again, there's the environmental perspective. If everyone shut off the AC and rolled down their windows, the miniscule individual savings would add up to big aggregate savings.

According to Slate, "AC can cut fuel economy by anywhere from 3 percent to 10 percent." When it's really hot outside, the cut can run as deep as 20 percent. In the end, they suggest, "you should save a few gallons of gas over the course of the summer."

If you're interested in conserving, they offer a good rule of thumb: "Keep the windows down while on city streets, then resort to air conditioning when you hit the highway."

Note that, as your speed increases, the drag from open windows makes your engine work harder.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.