MORAINE, Ohio (WDTN) – Hot weather can have an impact on how often you need to fill up your vehicle depending on how much you run your air conditioner.
On a very hot day, the AC can reduce a vehicle’s fuel economy by more than 25%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. It is the main contributor to reduced fuel economy in hot weather.
Ricky Reilich with Foreign Exchange said that’s because hot weather like we have this week means your car has to work even harder to cool down when you turn up the AC.
“That puts a lot of stress on the AC components under the hood other than having to make that engine work hard.”
Reilich said when you first get in your car, roll down the windows first to let out the heat trapped inside.
“Roll those windows down, you can go ahead and slowly bump that AC up. let it get cool,” Reilich said. “Let the car warm up just a touch before you really kick it into high gear.”
If possible, Reilich suggests park under a shaded area or use a solar screen in the windshield to prevent the car from getting too hot in the sun.
Reilich said another tool drivers have that can cut down on fuel usage is by using the recirculation button, which recirculates the air already in the cabin instead of cooling off in the hot air outside.
“It’s been out in a parking lot, it’s very, very hot, you get that temperature brought down to the 65 cold air that you like it in there,” Reilich said. “It’s going to keep recirculating that air that is going allow the car to take less load because it’s not working as hard to constantly pump that ice cold air into the car.”
Another gas guzzler during the hot weather is idling or sitting in traffic. Reilich suggests checking your navigation app to see where traffic is slowed and try taking back roads or alternate routes to avoid it.
Additionally, take advantage of cooler days and drive with the windows down instead of running the AC.
“We’re trying to save money at the pump,” Reilich said. “If we can use our AC less, that’s less fuel that we got to put in there in the car.”
Finally, Reilich said preventative maintenance can save you money not only on gas, but also repair bills. That includes checking fluid levels, tire pressure and air and fuel filters.