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Impact of air conditioning on fuel economy is doubled for hybrid vehicles

Testing carried out at the company’s facility in Los Angeles has found that driving a hybrid passenger car with the air conditioning turned fully on reduces MPG by an average of 6.1%– almost double the average reduction recorded in petrol engine cars which amounted to 3.8%. In comparison, the average MPG in diesel cars was found to be reduced by 4.6%.

The data, compiled by comparing over 100 passenger cars, also highlights the impact of using air conditioning on fuel economy during motorway and city driving. The tests found that hybrid models perform worst in both conditions, with air conditioning on average reducing MPG by as much as 9.3%when driven in the city and 2.8%on the motorway.

Air conditioning was found to have the least impact on petrol engine cars in both test scenarios, as MPG was reduced by 5.1% during the city drive and 2.7% on the motorway drive. Again diesel engines were found to be somewhere in the middle, with results showing an average reduction in MPG of 6.4% in the city, compared to on a motorway which amounted to a reduction of 3.3%.

Commenting on the findings, Nick Molden, founder and CEO of Emissions Analytics, said: ‘While these results were based on tests conducted in the United States where the climate tends to be warmer and there is therefore larger requirement for air conditioning, our findings can still be applied by consumers in the UK when looking for their next car.’

Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 14 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie works across the magazine portfolio and updates the company websites with daily news, interviews and road test content.

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