Does Car AC Use Gas?

car with air conditioning on

Have you ever wondered, “Does car AC use gas?” It may not be apparent, but your car’s air conditioning system does indirectly use gas, just like many of the other electronic features in your Mazda. Air conditioning draws power from the alternator, which in turn is powered by the engine. Fuel is what powers the process. Learn more about your car’s air conditioning system here, and if you need service on your AC, contact Tulley Mazda in Nashua.

How Car AC Works

So, how exactly does car AC use gas? All vehicle air conditioning systems operate on a high-pressure gas that is called refrigerant. Regardless of the make and model of your vehicle, these key components are part of your air conditioning system:

  • Condenser: Removes the heat from the refrigerant and directs it along to the expansion valve or orifice tube.
  • Expansion valve or orifice tube: Returns the refrigerant to its original gaseous state and pushes it to the receiver/drier or accumulator.
  • Receiver/drier or accumulator: Removes moisture from the refrigerant and transfers it to the evaporator.
  • Evaporator: Pulls heat from the air passing through its core and transfers it into the refrigerant, resulting in cold air flowing beyond the evaporator.
  • Compressor: Compresses the refrigerant into a fluid, allowing the refrigerant to flow through the line to the condenser.

Can Using Car AC Be Fuel-Efficient?

Based on suggestions from the EPA, using your AC when driving at highway speed is more fuel-efficient than leaving the windows down while you drive. While it can be refreshing to roll down the windows while cruising around Hudson or Merrimack, it also generates more drag. It causes your engine to work harder and has to burn more gas to maintain higher speeds. So, if you want to maximize fuel economy in your new Mazda, use your AC while on the highway instead of rolling the windows down.

Other Ways You Can Improve Fuel Economy

In addition to keeping the windows up while driving on the highway, there are many other ways to improve fuel economy, such as: 

  • Don’t idle for more than 30 seconds
  • Don’t carry unnecessary items in your vehicle
  • Brake gradually
  • Reduce your speed and drive in a higher gear
  • Make sure your vehicle’s tires are properly inflated and aligned
  • Use sun reflectors if you’re parking in a sunny spot
  • Don’t use cheap engine oil

Get Your AC Serviced at Tulley Mazda

If you live around Lowell and think your air conditioning could use service, contact us today! Our expert service technicians will handle any job promptly and have you back on the road in no time. Check out our service specials, and then make an appointment online or over the phone.

Schedule an Appointment with our Service Team

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(603) 888-0550

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(603) 888-0550

Call Now


(603) 888-0550

Call Now

147 Daniel Webster Hwy • Nashua, NH 03060

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Tulley Mazda 42.7246467, -71.4491792.