Want to save fuel on those long summer highway drives? Don’t open the window. Crank up the air conditioning.
That’s just one of the useful — and frequently surprising — tips available from fueleconomy.gov, the go-to web site for information on fuel economy.
While running the AC does increase fuel consumption, it’s more efficient than driving with the windows open at highway speeds. The open windows increase the car’s aerodynamic drag, and that makes the engine work harder, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Other EPA-approved fuel-savers:
•Park in the shade so your car doesn’t get as hot.
•Leave the windows open when you first start driving to clear hot air out of the cabin.
•If you’ve got a plug-in hybrid, pre-cool the car while it’s still plugged in. That uses power from the electric grid, not your car’s engine.
While air conditioning uses energy, drivers are more likely to be safe and focused on the road when they’re comfortable. Don’t stress yourself out by driving in a sweltering hot car.
If you want to know how much more money you spend when you speed up, the website can calculate that, too.
Driving a 2015 four-cylinder Toyota Camry at 80 miles per hour will cost $1.49 more per 100 miles than 70 mph for instance.