Does Car AC Use Gas?

Air conditioning button in car 

While our area is known for its winters, the summertime can still get plenty warm. As a result, you likely crank the air conditioner in your car from time to time. That habit may lead you to wonder, "Does car AC use gas?" Yes, the air conditioner in your car does use gas to operate. The alternator gets power from the engine, which is then used to provide the necessary power for the AC. So the answer to the question, "Does air conditioning in the car use gas?" is yes, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's inefficient. Review our service tips below to learn more!

Does AC Burn Car Gas? How Does Car AC Work? 

Does AC burn car gas? Yes! How does car AC work? Regardless of who makes a vehicle, the air conditioner works the same way. The AC runs on a high-pressure gas known as refrigerant. Along with refrigerant, your AC system uses the following components to operate:

  • Compressor - compresses the refrigerant down into a fluid. Once liquid, the refrigerant can flow down to the condenser.
  • Condenser - removes heat from the refrigerant and sends it to the expansion valve or orifice tube.
  • Expansion valve or orifice tube - reverts the refrigerant back to a gas and sends the gas to the receiver/drier or accumulator.
  • Receiver/drier or accumulator - pulls moisture from the refrigerant and sends it to the evaporator.
  • Evaporator - takes the heat out of the air that passes through the core, moves it into the refrigerant, which results in cold air flowing through the system.

Can Using Car AC Be Fuel-Efficient? 

When driving at highway speeds out past Interlochen, turning on your AC is usually more efficient than driving with the windows down to cool off. This is because open windows create drag. Excess drag forces the engine to work harder than necessary to keep pace, meaning you'll waste fuel. So, if you're cruising at highway speeds on a warm summer day, you can confidently crank the air conditioning if you want to save fuel!

Other Tips for Improving Fuel Efficiency

So you can answer the question, "Does air conditioning in the car use gas?" but you might also be asking how to improve your fuel economy on your commutes from Traverse City to Garfield Township. Here are a few tips to boost your fuel efficiency:

  • Brake gradually 
  • Keep the tires properly inflated and aligned 
  • Avoid idling for over 30 seconds 
  • Don't overload your car 
  • Use sun reflectors if you're parked in the sun 
  • Buy the recommended oil for your car 
  • Reduce your speed and drive in a higher gear 

Get More Service Tips from Serra Volvo Cars of Traverse City!

Now that you can answer questions like, "Does car AC use gas?" and "Does air conditioning in the car use gas efficiently?" you can take on every Kalkaska drive with precision. Serra Volvo Cars of Traverse City is your go-to source for all of your car care questions. Whether you want to know how often to rotate your tires or how to jump-start your car, we have you covered!