Does Car AC Use Gas?


Yes, your car’s air condition system requires gas to operate. The air conditioner’s energy is supplied by the alternator, which is powered by the engine. As you know, fuel is necessary to power the engine. Believe it or not, however, there are some specific instances where running the AC can actually be more fuel-efficient than not using it. Get all the details on your air conditioning system and how it works with the service team at Stingray Chevrolet, below.

How Does Car AC Operate?

Generally speaking, all cars’ air conditioning systems operate the same way. The AC runs on refrigerant, which is a high-pressure gas. No matter your make and model, the AC system is comprised of the following components:

  • Compressor — compresses the refrigerant into a fluid, allowing it to flow through a line to the condenser.
  • Condenser — this is where heat is removed from the refrigerant. Then, it is pushed ahead to the expansion valve or orifice tube.
  • Expansion valve or orifice tube — once here, the refrigerant is returned to its original gaseous state, then moved to the receiver/drier or accumulator.
  • Receiver/drier or accumulator — the receiver/drier removes moisture from the refrigerant, before transferring it over to the evaporator.
  • Evaporator — finally, the evaporator pulls heat from the air passing through its core and transfers it to the refrigerant. The result is cold air flowing beyond the evaporator, keeping you cool on hot, sunny days in Lakeland.

How Can Running the AC Be Fuel-Efficient?

According to the EPA, your commutes on Valrico highways can be more fuel-efficient when you run the AC rather than rolling the windows down. Why is this? When the windows are open at highway speeds, they increase aerodynamic drag, which makes the engine work harder and burn more fuel. If, like many other Brandon drivers, you like to run your AC on hot summer days, this is great news!

More Helpful Tips to Improve Fuel Economy

Keeping your windows shut at highway speeds isn’t the only way to remain fuel-efficient in Plant City. Other suggestions include:

  • Avoid idling for more than 30 seconds
  • Coast to brake
  • Maintain proper wheel alignment and tire pressure
  • Always use high-quality engine oil that’s the proper grade for your car
  • Reduce your speed and drive in a higher gear when possible
  • Limit the amount of weight in your trunk
  • When parking in a hot, sunny area, put a sun reflector up in your windshield

Learn More About Your Car’s AC at Stingray Chevrolet

Have lingering questions about your Chevrolet’s AC system and its inner workings? Contact us or check out more of our service tips online. If you suspect there’s an issue with your air conditioning, don’t hesitate to schedule a service appointment with us in Plant City.