Is it better to drive with the windows open or the air conditioning on?

Question from Sergey: Which one uses more fuel? Do you drive with the windows open or the air conditioning on?

“I am It is true that driving with the windows open increases fuel consumption by an average of 4%. Jean-Marc Ponteville analyzes in D’Iteren. It varies more or less depending on the aerodynamic shape of the car. When you drive with the windows open, you disrupt the aerodynamic flow around the car: you create turbulence, which affects fuel consumption.

And the air conditioning?

For Jean-Marc Pontdeville, air conditioning has many uses. “But there, it depends on the temperature difference between the outside air and the passenger compartment. In hot weather, air conditioning can consume 10% more.”

France 2 team Under 37°C in 2015 a test linking Montpellier with Narbonne was carried out. The first test was with the windows open, the second with air conditioning, to capture an internal temperature of 22° or 15°. The Ellet has a similar average consumption of 5.4 liters per 100 km.

In 2022, RTBF Tested between legs and Habay, where the air conditioning consumed more than with the windows open: a difference of 0.9 liters.

French environmental change agency Ademe experts, for its part, presents the following statistics: air conditioning increases fuel consumption, 2 liters per 100 km in the city, 0.4 liters per 100 on the road and motorway. Average 1L/100km for most recent vehicles.

If you’re questioning your vacation trips, know that a roof box leads to 10 to 20% more consumption… Prefer a box attached to a trailer hitch.

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Air Go also has other advantages

If air conditioning pollutes too much – high CO2 emissions and the release of refrigerant in case of leaks – it has the ability to dry the air and prevent the entry of dust and noise.

Air conditioning can also be a safety feature, Jean-Marc Ponteville agrees, Because concentration is difficult to maintain beyond 26°: between 19° and 26°, it is at its maximum. Additionally, during peak pollen seasons, air conditioning and air filtering can provide relief to allergy sufferers..”

Ademe experts offer some advice: Open the windows to let the heat out before turning on the air conditioning. Then the roll windows were closed; limit the external temperature difference to 4-5 °; Park in the shade if possible; If it is broken down to detect a refrigerant leak, it must service the contaminating air conditioning.

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