Does Car AC Use Gas?

When you’re sitting in stop-and-go Kansas City traffic on a hot summer day, you may briefly wonder, does car AC use gas? Yes. Your car’s air conditioning system pulls energy from the alternator, which is powered by the engine – the engine, of course, runs on fuel. So if you’re running low on gas it’s best to be prudent about your AC use, but there are some instances where using the AC can actually be more efficient than not using it! Get all the facts you need to know in the guide below, courtesy of the Hendrick Chevrolet Shawnee Mission service center team.

How Does Car AC Work?

Air conditioning systems are largely the same across auto manufacturers and their various models. The AC system runs on refrigerant, a high-pressure gas. No matter your make and model, the components that make up your car’s AC system will include:

  • Compressor — aptly named, the compressor compresses the refrigerant from a gaseous state to a fluid state, allowing it to flow through a line to the condenser
  • Condenser — once at the condenser, heat is pulled away from the refrigerant. Then, the refrigerant is sent to the expansion valve or orifice tube
  • Expansion valve or orifice tube — once here, the refrigerant is returned to its original gaseous state and moved to the receiver/drier or accumulator
  • Receiver/drier or accumulator — here, moisture is pulled from the refrigerant before transferring it to the evaporator
  • Evaporator — finally, the evaporator pulls heat from the air that passes through its core and transfers it into the refrigerant. The cold air flows beyond the evaporator and keeps you cool as you cruise through Shawnee Mission.

How Can Running Car AC Be Fuel-Efficient?

When you’re traveling from Merriam to Overland Park at highway speeds, you might think that rolling your windows down to keep cool is more efficient than running the AC, knowing that the AC system uses gas. According to the EPA, however, using your car’s AC system can actually be the more fuel-efficient choice when you’re driving at highway speeds. Open windows create aerodynamic drag at these speeds, which requires your engine to work harder, thus using more fuel.

Tips for Being a Fuel-Efficient Driver

Rolling the windows up at highway speeds is just one of many ways you can be a more fuel-efficient driver. Here are some additional tips to help you spend less time and money at the pump:

  • Brake gradually
  • Always keep your tires properly aligned and filled at the right PSI
  • Don’t allow your car to idle for more than 30 seconds
  • Keep your cargo area as light as possible
  • Minimize the need to blast your AC when you return to the car by using a sun reflector
  • Always buy the proper grade of engine oil
  • Mind your speed, and drive in a higher gear

For More Auto Tips You Can Trust, Turn to Hendrick Chevrolet Shawnee Mission!

Searching for additional auto tips? Suspect that your car’s AC system in need of maintenance? Contact us to start a conversation or schedule an appointment at our Merriam service center! For all of your automotive needs, Hendrick Chevrolet Shawnee Mission is here with the advice you can rely on and the specials to help you save. Check out our guide to alternators to explore more of our top service tips!

More from Hendrick Chevrolet Shawnee Mission

  • 2022 Chevrolet Colorado Towing Capacity

      If you are looking for a wonderful mid-size pickup truck that you can enjoy on Kansas City roads, then the logical conclusion is that you should invest in the 2022 Chevrolet Colorado. The Colorado towing capacity tops out at around 7,700 pounds, which is plenty when it comes to Shawnee Mission drives. Find out more with…

  • 2022 Chevy Blazer Towing Capacity

    How much can a Chevy Blazer tow? The new Chevy Blazer brings pulse-raising performance and sporty good looks to the streets of Kansas City, but the Chevy Blazer towing capacity you can work with depends on how you configure your new SUV. The maximum available Blazer towing capacity is 4,500 pounds. What does it take to…

  • 2022 Chevy Silverado 2500HD Towing Capacity

    The 2022 Chevy Silverado 2500HD brings heavy-duty capabilities to your Kansas City and Shawnee Mission job sites. If you’ve reviewed the light-duty Chevy Silverado towing capacity for the 1500 model and determined that it’s not quite enough for your needs, then an upgrade to the Silverado 2500HD is likely the right choice. At maximum, the 2022 Chevy…

Hendrick Vehicle Disclaimer:

$699.00 Dealer Administrative Charge not included in advertised price.

All prices exclude all taxes, tag, title, registration fees and government fees. Out of state buyers are responsible for all taxes and government fees and title/registration fees in the state where the vehicle will be registered. All prices include all manufacturer to dealer incentives, which the dealer retains unless otherwise specifically provided. Dealer not responsible for errors and omissions; all offers subject to change without notice; please confirm listings with dealer.


All vehicles may not be physically located at this dealership but may be available for delivery through this location. Transportation charges may apply. Please contact the dealership for more specific information. All vehicles are subject to prior sale.




Additional Disclaimers:

*Finance charges accrue from date of financing. Deferred monthly payments for 90 days. 1.9% APR for 36 months. Monthly payment is $28.60 for every $1,000 you finance. Example down payment: 18.8%. Must finance with GM Financial. Down payment required at signing, if applicable. Not available in PA. Some customers may not qualify. Not available with lease and some other offers. Take new retail delivery by 3/4/24.

*2.9% APR for 72 months. Monthly payment is $15.15 for every $1,000 you finance. Example down payment: 19.2%. Must finance with GM Financial. Some customers may not qualify. Not available with lease and some other offers. Take new retail delivery by 3/4/24. **Must trade in a 2010 model year or newer vehicle. Not available with special financing, lease and some other offers. Take new retail delivery by 3/4/24.

Connect With Us

Hendrick Chevrolet Shawnee Mission 39.0157, -94.6792.