Picture this: You’re out running errands on a sweltering summer afternoon. The sun is beating down on your car, making the metal exterior hot to the touch and turning the inside into a sauna. Should you roll down the windows? Should you crank up the air conditioner? Which option is better for the environment? As it turns out, this one is a trick question.
Whether to run the air conditioner or roll down the windows depends on where you’re driving, and how. While running the air conditioner in your car can decrease fuel efficiency by about 10 percent, rolling down the windows can actually be worse. Driving with the windows open causes wind resistance that creates drag on your vehicle. At speeds of 55 miles per hour or greater, this drag can reduce your fuel efficiency by up to 20 percent. The solution? At slower speeds, go ahead and roll down the windows. Once you hit the highway, though, put the windows back up and opt for the AC, preferably on the lowest comfortable setting.
What do you think? Share your thoughts.