We all are part of a generation where our parents were the first generation car owners and due to no internet presence during those times, parents believed what they heard from their peers or neighbours about car maintenance. One such conception that has been passed on to young drivers is to turn off the AC to increase the fuel efficiency when the car is at a standstill. It is true that with the AC on during driving a car, reduces the fuel efficiency but we still need valid proof of how a switched on AC impacts the fuel efficiency during idling. Here’s a test is done to test just that.
The video is uploaded by Arun Pawar. He starts the video by explaining how he got to test this. He got this idea as there was a power cut at his place for over two days. He needed to sit in an air-conditioned place and the easiest was to sit inside his car.
Therefore, he got on to testing the impact of fuel if the AC is turned on in a standstill car. Most of us always believed that the car would consume a lot of fuel if we switch on the AC during idling. Most of the city drivers, even switch off the AC when they are stuck in slow-moving traffic because they believe in this notion very strongly.
For the experiment, Arun Pawar filled his fuel tank to the brim and drove back to his house. The car was then parked, and the AC was turned on with a timer of one hour. Post one hour, we can actually see the fuel level coming down and can get an approximate idea as to the percentage of fuel consumed by an air-conditioned cabin during idling.
So what is the cost?
He went on to add 20 mins more to the idling time, post which he went back to the same fuel station to fill the tank to the brim again. After filling the fuel and doing all his calculation, the results were a bit surprising. His Maruti Suzuki Baleno petrol, consumed about 1.66 litres of fuel, which cost him approximately Rs. 130.
This further means, that the per hour rate of switching on the AC in a static Baleno would cost anywhere around Rs. 100. Little fuel was also consumed while driving back and forth from the fuel station. However, Arun Pawar clarifies that the distance from the fuel station to his home is only 8kms.
The Baleno used by Arun Pawar for this experiment is powered by a 1.2-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine that churns a maximum power of 83 Bhp and a 115 Nm of peak torque. The car comes with a manual transmission gearbox. There are a lot of variables that decide the fuel efficiency of a car, and the results will change accordingly for every car depending on its condition.
However, the margin of error wouldn’t be significant. Even the external environment of the car is a variable factor that can impact the fuel efficiency of the car with AC switched on. In humid or hot weather conditions, the AC has to work extra to extract the moisture from the air and keep the cabin cool. Similarly, in colder weather conditions, the AC doesn’t have to work so much and therefore will consume lesser fuel. Therefore, the experiment gives us a ballpark figure to keep in mind with the key variables being the weather condition and overall condition of the car.