Fuel Economy in Hot Weather | Penney Auto Body & Glass Vancouver

Fuel Economy in Hot Weather | Penney Auto Body & Glass Vancouver

Did you know that hot weather can actually increase your fuel economy? Your engine warms up faster to an appropriate temperature and summer grades of gasoline can have slightly more energy. Plus, warm air causes less wind resistance than cooler air.

Keep in mind that rolling down the windows or using the air conditioning (AC) to keep yourself and your passengers cool in the hot heat can actually reduce your car's fuel economy.

Running the air conditioner is the main culprit to reduced fuel economy. Under high temperatures, AC use can potentially reduce your car's fuel by more than 25%. And the effect on hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric vehicles (EVs) can be even larger on a percentage basis.

Driving with your windows down can also reduce fuel economy. Windows left open can increase wind resistance, making your vehicle use more energy to push through the air. It's quite small at low speeds but increases at highway speeds.

Tips to improve fuel economy in hot weather:

  • Roll the windows down at lower speeds, but use the AC at highway speeds.
  • Don’t blast the AC more than necessary or set the temperature lower than needed.
  • Park in the shade whenever possible or use a sunshade so the cabin doesn’t get hot.
  • Drive with the windows down for a short time before using air conditioning. Letting hot air out of the cabin first will put less demand on the AC and help your vehicle cool faster.
  • Turn the AC on after you begin to drive or after airing out the cabin. Most AC systems will cool the vehicle faster when in motion.
  • Read your manual as it will explain how the AC system controls work and what the best way is to maintain it.
  • For plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles, pre-cool the cabin while plugged into the charger. It will extend your vehicle’s range. Plus, using a warmer temperature setting for the AC will use less battery power.


Penney Auto Body & Glass, Vancouver’s Auto Body Collision Repair Shop, is an expert in paint and body repair and cares about the welfare of your car and your personal safety. If you get involved in an automotive accident or you're a victim of a vehicle break-in or theft be sure to contact Penney Auto Body for your auto body, collision repair, and car painting services.


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