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1400 Sandhill Rd., Orem, UT, 84058

Does Car AC Use Gas?

Yes — like many of your car’s features, the air conditioning system uses gas. The air conditioner draws energy from the alternator, which is powered by the engine. And fuel is required to power your Toyota car’s engine. However, there are times when using the AC can be more efficient than not using it. Learn more about how your car’s air conditioning system works and the role it plays in gas mileage.



How Car AC Works

For the most part, air conditioning works the same for all cars. Their systems run on a high-pressure gas called refrigerant. No matter the make, the air conditioning system uses the following parts:

  • Compressor — compresses the refrigerant into a fluid, so the liquid refrigerant flows through a line to the condenser.
  • Condenser — removes the heat from the refrigerant and pushes it along to the expansion valve or orifice tube.
  • Expansion valve or orifice tube — returns the refrigerant to its original gaseous state and moves it to the receiver/drier or accumulator.
  • Receiver/drier or accumulator — removes moisture from the refrigerant and transfers it to the evaporator.
  • Evaporator — pulls heat from the air passing through its core and transfers it into the refrigerant, resulting in cold air flowing beyond the evaporator.
2019 Toyota RAV4 with driver


Can Using Car AC Be Fuel-Efficient?

According to the EPA, using your car’s AC can be more efficient while driving at highway speeds than having the windows open. Open windows elevate aerodynamic drag, causing the engine to work harder and burn more fuel. This is perfect for any Provo drivers who use the air during the summer. So, does car AC waste gas? No, not as long as the AC is used while driving at highway speeds.

Other Ways to Improve Fuel Economy

On top of keeping the windows up while driving at high speeds, there are additional ways to improve fuel economy on Lehi and Draper roads. A few suggestions include:

  • Brake gradually
  • Don’t idle for more than 30 seconds
  • Don’t use cheap engine oil
  • Make sure your car’s tires are properly inflated and aligned
  • Pack light
  • Reduce your speed and drive in a higher gear
  • Use sun reflectors if you’re parking in a sunny spot

Learn More About Your AC at Brent Brown Toyota!

Give us a call with any questions about how air conditioners work, you want to know, “Is it illegal to drive barefoot?”, or schedule an appointment if you need AC service! Before you schedule, take a moment to browse our current service specials and parts specials so you can save on your next visit.

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