Mechanic’s warning as car’s AC lowers gas mileage by 3 mpg – but there are ways to keep cool and save money this summer


AUTO mechanics are warning drivers as gas prices are hitting record highs, causing vehicle owners to cut back in other areas.

Car owners all over the US have been changing the rate at which they use their AC systems because they use gas, but experts say how much fuel air conditioners use depends on certain factors.

Make sure all the fluids in your vehicle are full, especially the freon


Make sure all the fluids in your vehicle are full, especially the freonCredit: Getty
A vehicle's HVAC health is likely the most important factor to consider when it comes to how hard running its AC is on the car


A vehicle’s HVAC health is likely the most important factor to consider when it comes to how hard running its AC is on the carCredit: Getty

Though AC does use gas to run, there are ways you can still stay cool while driving this summer.

There are estimates that the air conditioning system will lower mileage by about 3 MPG, car care center Chapel Hill Tire reported.

The age, make, model and driving speed could make it more costly to run the AC in your car.

External factors like the temperature outside also affect how much gas it may take for your AC to run.

A vehicle’s HVAC health is likely the most important factor to consider when it comes to how hard running its AC is on the car.


The car care center also shared important tips about the different fluids in your car.

It’s especially important that all fluids, including the freon, are full.

When a car is low on refrigerant, its compressor has to work harder to produce cool air.

This strain turns out to have a greater toll on fuel efficiency.

If you ensure that the air conditioner in your vehicle has the right amount of freon, that’s a major way to help you affordably run a car’s AC system. 

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That being said, automobile ACs do circulate refrigerant in a sealed system.

So, the system shouldn’t need its refrigerant recharged regularly throughout the lifespan of your vehicle.

If the AC refrigerant is low, that could be a sign of a leak or break.

A natural thing for a driver to wonder is whether the level at which they run their AC can make having a car’s air conditioner more or less costly.

Expert advice on prepping your car for summer

Dustin Piggot, the Service Manager at a Subaru Dealership with years of technincal experience, told The U.S. Sun in an exclusive interview which items drivers should have checked before temperatures rise:

  1. Have a multi-point inspection performed. A paid inspection will prompt a technician to check vital systems like braking, power steering, and front and rear suspension for any leaks or malfunctions. They will also test the condition of the battery and check vital fluid levels and conditions.
  2. Cooling system. Before things heat up, drivers must have their cooling system inspected for proper coolant levels and condition, have radiator hoses evaluated, and have the radiator checked.
  3. Have your A/C system checked. If freon is low and needs charging or parts need to be replaced, it’s essential to address the issue before temperatures rise.
  4. Make sure your tires are appropriate for warmer weather. If you live in a climate that necessitates a dedicated winter tire, swap them with all-season or summer tires if possible to extend the life of the winter tire. Winter tires are softer and will wear out much quicker in warmer weather.
  5. Look at tread depth. Tires with low tread depth will make it more difficult to stop your car if you need to avoid an accident.
  6. Give your car some TLC. Before it gets too hot, Piggott says it’s important to give your car a good cleaning to wash away winter grime and dirt and treat your paint to a nice coat of wax to protect it from harsh UV rays and high heat. Many dealerships like his offer detailing and washing services.

Read more here.


When you run your car AC, it has two settings that affect the gas mileage in different ways.

When it comes to the temperature, when the AC is lower, it will require more gas than moderate temperature settings.

It’d be best for drivers trying to cut gas costs to think about the AC temperature setting as high as a way to save a little gas. 

For the speed setting, it actually doesn’t matter much how fast or slow you run your vehicle’s air conditioner.

A car’s AC compressor uses fuel to run the system but the alternator powers the part of the automobile that controls how high or low the system runs.

Experts say running your air conditioning on full blast will use just as much gas as it would if it was on its lowest settings.


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