Does Car AC Use Gas?

2023 Acura Integra driving down the road
Chances are, you’ve heard that running the air conditioner during your Denver drives decreases your vehicle’s fuel economy. So, is it true? Does your car air conditioner use gas? Yes – your car’s alternator, which is powered by the engine, is responsible for powering the AC system, along with several other features of your vehicle. However, there are some scenarios where using your AC is actually more efficient than driving with the windows down. Learn more about how your car’s AC system works with Fisher Acura below and then stop by and see our inventory in person!



How Car AC Works

Does car AC use gas? We’ve already confirmed this, but how exactly does it work? Here’s a quick breakdown of your vehicle’s air conditioning system and its key components:

  • Refrigerant – A high-pressure gas that powers the AC system.
  • Compressor – Allows the refrigerant to flow freely to the condenser by compressing it into a liquid.
  • Condenser – Decreases the temperature of the refrigerant and directs it to the expansion valve/orifice tube.
  • Expansion Valve/Orifice Tube – Returns the refrigerant to its gas form and sends it to the receiver/drier, which is also referred to as the accumulator.
  • Accumulator – Decreases the refrigerant’s moisture content and sends it to the evaporator.
  • Evaporator – As the air passes through its core, the evaporator removes the heat and transfers it to the refrigerant. This results in cool air flowing from the evaporator.

Is it Efficient to Use Your AC?

We’ve answered, “Does car AC use gas?” But are there scenarios where it is actually more efficient to use your AC? As it turns out, the EPA states that driving at highway speeds with your windows down uses more fuel than running the AC, as it increases the wind resistance and forces your vehicle’s engine to work harder. That said, you should roll up your windows when driving on Aurora highways and use your AC to cool off instead.

Tips on Improving Fuel Efficiency

In addition to rolling up your windows on the highway, here are some other ways you can improve your fuel economy:

  • Brake gradually
  • Don’t idle for longer than 30 seconds
  • Refrain from packing too many heavy items
  • Ensure proper tire alignment and inflation
  • Use a sunshade when parked in direct sun
  • Reduce speed and drive in a higher gear
  • Use high-quality engine oil
  • Upgrade to a hybrid or plug-in hybrid vehicle

Contact Fisher Acura With Any Questions on Your Car AC

If you still have questions about your car’s AC system or a related topic, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Fisher Acura. We’re here to help! If you’re looking to upgrade your Broomfield drives with a new fuel-efficient ride, be sure to check out our new vehicle inventory. You can also order OEM parts for sale online from home and have them ready for your next visit. Contact us today for more information in our service specials and schedule an appointment at our dealership!

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