How Much Does A/C Affect Fuel Consumption?

Using air conditioning in the summer is part of the daily routine of most drivers. However, it can have a significant impact on the vehicle’s performance.

More specifically, refreshing the cabin with A/C increases fuel consumption by up to 20 percent because of the extra load on the engine, according to a press release by Natural Resources Canada.

The actual load depends on multiple factors such as the vehicle’s interior size, the outdoor temperature and other conditions.

More fuel means more money spent at the pump, of course. Let’s say you drive around 14,000 kilometres annually; over a 10-year period, you’ll pay an extra $1,820 if your A/C system uses 1 L/100 km (based on a fuel price of $1.30/L).

What’s more, using A/C on a regular basis also increases a vehicle’s carbon footprint. In the example we gave above, that amounts to 3,220 kilograms of CO2 emissions over 10 years.

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