Experiments

AC vs Windows

posted: 04/11/12
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As seen in "MythBusters: Exploding House"
DCL

Finding: BUSTED

Explanation: When the weather warms up, is driving with the windows down or with the air conditioning running more fuel efficient? Auto experts have claimed that AC is the wisest way to go, but MythBusters Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage fueled up two identical SUVs and took them to the tracks to truly solve this roadside riddle.

With five gallons of gasoline in each tank, the MythBusters saddled up their SUVs and circled Northern California's Altamont Raceway at 45 miles (72 kilometers) per hour to see which one ran out of fuel first. Before starting their engines, Jamie cranked up the AC, Adam rolled down his windows, and the pair set off on their race to nowhere.

In the end, Jamie's air-conditioned SUV stopped first, while Adam's window-cooled car ran for 15 miles (24 kilometers) more. Since rolling down the windows sustained Adam's SUV for a significantly longer distance, the MythBusters busted the expert advice.

For fuel-savvy summertime driving, keep your air cooling au naturel.

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