‘Lifesaver!’: Drivers urged to check air con or face 10 percent spike in fuel consumption

Hypermiling: Drivers go to extremes to conserve fuel

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With the heatwave impacting millions of drivers across the UK this weekend, motorists are being urged to keep an eye on their fuel economy. Motoring experts estimate that a vehicle uses between eight and 10 percent more fuel when the air conditioning is on.

Despite this, many may see the air con as a lifesaver to deal with the heatwave this weekend.

While the AC can impact fuel efficiency, opening windows at higher speeds can increase fuel consumption by as much as 20 percent.

Dan Gick, Managing Director of Scrap Car Comparison, advised drivers to take a look at their air conditioning system to ensure it is working properly.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “Your car’s air conditioning system can be a real lifesaver during a heat wave.

“But it’s important to carry out regular checks throughout the year to ensure everything is working efficiently when the temperatures outside start to rise. 

“Consult your vehicle’s handbook for further information on the inner workings of your air conditioning system, and stick to the service schedule to ensure any issues are spotted early.

“If you do notice that your air conditioning system isn’t working, you should contact a professional technician to carry out checks and any repairs as soon as possible. 

“A malfunctioning system not only leaves the passengers in your car feeling the heat, but it can also drain power, fuel and lead to an overheating engine.”

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The RAC urges drivers to only use air conditioning unless they “really have to”.

It uses a significant amount of engine power and therefore increases fuel consumption.

The same goes for heating and cooling in the winter.

This comes as drivers are being urged to book their air conditioning re-gas as soon as possible.

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In recent days, garages have seen as much as a tenfold increase in the number of daily bookings compared to typical booking numbers.

With temperatures set to hit 36C this weekend, drivers are being urged to get in before it’s too late, to keep them cool and save fuel.

A study from 2018, carried out by researchers at Emissions Analytics, found that British motorists are at risk of being exposed to toxic air because of the air-con systems in their cars.

It discovered that some of the country’s most popular cars have air-conditioning units that are filtering out as little as one percent of toxic particles.

It found that there are up to 57,000 toxic particles in every cubic centimetre of roadside air samples, meaning motorists could be inhaling up to 28 million particles with every breath. 

Ford Fiestas, Volkswagen Polos, and Toyota C-HRs are all listed as models that are putting their owners are risk due to flawed filtering systems.

A further study from the independent testing specialists found that the impact of air conditioning on hybrid fuel economy was almost twice as much. 

Fuel efficiency dropped 6.1 percent in a hybrid car on average, compared to just 3.8 percent for standard petrol car and 4.6 percent for a diesel.

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