Drivers urged not to use popular air con fuel-saving trick as it may be ‘costly’

Woolwich resident says petrol prices are 'astronomical'

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The UK is set to be battered by yet another heatwave over the bank holiday weekend. The Met Office has warned drivers that Britain could get hotter than Mexico in certain places over the next few days.

And with fuel prices still remaining high, drivers have been urged to pay attention to their air con usage.

In a bid to reduce their costs, millions of drivers have already taken to changing their driving habits.

This could be in the way they drive or even how they treat their cars, with air conditioning becoming one of the focal points in the struggle to save money.

The RAC says that using air con, especially when driving in warmer weather, can increase a car’s fuel consumption.

It added that drivers should not use the air con unless they “really have to”.

Instead, many experts advocate for drivers to open their windows when driving to get cooler air in the cabin.

Generally, air con systems take the outside air and then heat or cool it.

This uses much more fuel compared to the lesser-known option of air recirculation.

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When pressed, the button allows the aircon to use the air from inside the car by drawing it through vents.

The button is usually positioned around the air con dial on most modern cars.

However, Sarah Tooze, Consumer Editor at CarSite, has warned drivers that overusing the air con could lead to very expensive problems with the car.

She said: “While there is merit in some of the suggestions, some techniques, such as drafting and coasting, are potentially dangerous for the driver and other road users.

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“Risking an expensive (and potentially fatal) crash in an attempt to save fuel is not worth it.

“Hypermilers advocate turning off the air-con to conserve fuel.

“However, while keeping the air-con off for long periods may save a small amount of fuel in the short term, it may cause costly problems down the road.

“AC systems are designed to operate 100 percent of the time, so the compressor may seize if it is switched off for long periods, or the joints may dry out and allow the gas to escape.”

Keeping the car in generally good condition can also help fuel efficiency.

For example, drivers should ensure their tyres have the correct pressure and are in good condition.

This reduces friction with the road, meaning the engine doesn’t have to work as hard when driving.

The RAC predicts that the prices will continue to fall, with the cost of super unleaded also slowly dropping.

Drivers are urged to shop around at supermarket forecourts in their area to try and save the most money that they can.

Motorists can also visit websites such as

After registering on the website, all motorists need to do is put in their postcode and how far they are willing to travel.

The site will then provide drivers with a list of the cheapest petrol stations in their area.

Mobile phone users can also download the app for easy access on the go without registering.

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