‘I’m a car expert – one button could increase fuel consumption by 20 percent’

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A motoring expert has warned petrol and diesel drivers could waste up to 20 percent of their fuel tank by pressing one button as temperatures soar.

Simply opening car windows during periods of hot weather could be detrimental to motorists’ fuel economy and use up more petrol or diesel, warns a specialist.

Chris Evans, head of content at Leasing.com has stressed drag from windows could have a negative effect on motorists’ fuel tanks at top speed.

However, windows may be better than air conditioning at low speeds meaning drivers face a balancing act to get the most from their tanks.

Opening a window at higher speeds is likely to be less beneficial with Mr Evans suggesting that 45mph is considered to be the cutoff.

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He added: “While all this might seem like a minor issue, getting it wrong can have a notable impact on your fuel economy.

“Using AC can increase your fuel consumption by as much as 10 percent but opening the windows at higher speeds can increase fuel consumption by as much as 20 percent.”

Bryn Brooker, expert at Nextbase, has also warned drivers should be careful about rolling their windows during a heatwave.

He said: “If you can stand the noise, opening your windows will be a more efficient choice than running the A/C at lower speeds.

“Above about 50mph the drag from the open windows means the A/C is more efficient, but until you’re at that speed your windows can do a lot.”

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Earlier this summer, experts at Redex also doubled down on the claims as they admitted opening windows should be avoided on long journeys.

They explained: ”As tempting as it is to catch a sea breeze or some country air on your bank holiday road trip, open windows spell disaster for your car’s aerodynamics, resulting in unnecessary fuel usage. On faster roads, stick with air-con.”

However, the RAC has attempted to defuse the claims as they warned windows have less of an effect as many believe.

According to the breakdown group, a study by General Motors and engineering standards group SAE debunked the theory.

They compared fuel use in a saloon and SUV at speeds of 31 mph, 50mph and 68mph and found having the window open was more efficient in all cases.

But, they urged road users should turn on their air conditioning as much as they can to prevent the key part from picking up a failure.

They commented: “However, it’s worth remembering that aircon will stop working if not used regularly, resulting in a potentially expensive repair, so it is a good idea to run it fairly regularly.”

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