With the warm summer weather upon us, you are probably expecting to be getting better gas mileage for a few good reasons:

  1. Your engine is operating at a more efficient temperature during the summer than it was during the frigid Midwestern winter months.
  2. With warmer air temperatures, gasoline grades need to be less volatile to reduce evaporation and pollution. This means they have slightly higher energy content because they are made with more pure gasoline.
  3. Warm air causes less aerodynamic drag than cold air.
  4. Less accessories are constantly running: heater, heated seats, headlights due to longer daylight hours, etc.

But have you noticed your gas mileage decreasing instead of increasing in the summer heat? A few quick tips can turn this around!

  1. When driving at low speeds, roll down the windows instead of using the AC.
  2. Don't drive at high speeds with the windows rolled down as this increases aerodynamic drag and reduces fuel economy.
  3. Don't set the AC temperature lower than needed.
  4. Park in the shade so that the cabin doesn't get as hot, less AC will be needed to cool it down.
  5. Roll the windows down for a while before turning on the AC as this lets the hot air out and allows your car to cool faster and use less AC.

For more information, check out this page published by the U.S. Department of Energy. 


About the Author

Marueen Schneider

Maureen A. Schneider
Environmental Intern

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