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Does Car AC Use Gas?

Air Conditioning Button

Picture this: it’s a hot summer day and you have your car’s air conditioning on full blast as you sit in Omaha traffic. You may have wondered to yourself, “Does car AC use gas?” Yes – your air conditioner draws energy from your car’s alternator, which is powered by the engine. Since your engine is powered by gas, you are using fuel when you run your AC.

However, you might be surprised to know that using the AC can be better than not using it in some situations. Learn more about the ins and outs of your car’s air conditioning system and how you can increase your fuel economy with Sid Dillon Chevrolet Fremont below.

How Does AC Work in a Car?

No matter the make or model, a car’s air conditioning system typically operates the same, using a high-pressure gas called refrigerant. A car’s air conditioning system contains the following parts:

  • Compressor — Compresses the refrigerant into a fluid, allowing it to flow through to the condenser.
  • Condenser — Removes the heat from the refrigerant and moves it along to the expansion valve or orifice tube.
  • Expansion valve or orifice tube — Returns the refrigerant back to a gas and moves it to the receiver/drier/accumulator.
  • Receiver/drier or accumulator — This removes moisture from the refrigerant and transfers it to the evaporator.
  • Evaporator — The evaporator draws heat from the air passing through and pushes it to the refrigerant, resulting in chilled air flowing out of the evaporator.

Does Turning Off Car AC Save Gas?

If your daily commute gets a little toasty during the summer months, you’ll be pleased to know that using your AC can be more efficient than rolling your windows down – specifically at highway speeds. When you drive with the windows down at highway speeds, your aerodynamic drag increases, forcing your engine to work harder and use more fuel. That being said, it’s best to roll up your windows and run your AC.

How to Improve Fuel Economy

In addition to rolling up your windows on the highway, here are some other ways you can improve your fuel economy on Columbus and Blair roads:

  • Reduce your speed and drive in a higher gear
  • Brake gradually
  • Ensure your tires are properly inflated and aligned
  • Avoid idling for more than 30 seconds
  • Use sun reflectors if you park in a sunny spot
  • Don’t use cheap engine oil
  • Pack light

Learn More with the Team at Sid Dillon Chevrolet Fremont

Whether you need to schedule AC service or have additional questions, Sid Dillon Chevrolet Fremont is here to help. Contact us today or schedule an appointment. But first, be sure to check out our service specials!

Chevrolet Service Coupons

Oil Change, Tire Rotation, 27 Point Inspection


Keep your car running smoothly and identify potential trouble spots.

Includes up to 6 Qts Dexos full synthetic oil, Excludes diesels, Saab, and other select vehicles. Tire balancing not included. Tax and shop supplies not included.


10% OFF

YOU get to choose!

10% Off any Service Available in Our Service Department.

*-Max Discount of $100. -Not valid for Insurance work, warranty, or with other offers or coupons. -Tax not included.



Keep the most important system on your car running smoothly. We will install high-quality AC Delco Durastop Ceramic pads on your car.

Includes replacement of brake pads and machining rotors on most GM vehicles. Rotor replacement extra. Excludes Corvette, Saab, and other select vehicles. Retail customers only. Tax and shop supplies not included.

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Sid Dillon Chevrolet Fremont 41.45158, -96.46513.