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Most fuel efficient A/C use?

7198 Views 24 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  snowwy66
Anyone know what the most fuel efficient way to use the A/C in a first gen Cruze?

I've read blogs saying Max A/C setting (recirculate) is actually more efficient than the regular A/C setting, which was news to me but made sense when explained. Does the Cruze mix hot air from the heater core when the A/C is on and temp control dial is anywhere other than coldest setting? I know different types of cars use different ways to do that, but that way would be the most in-efficient.

When I drive alone I only use A/C when needed, and turn off when accelerating or going up hills. When it starts cooling me off enough I switch it off (press button, keep vent going) then when I warm back up I switch it back on and basically manually cycle it as needed.

Anyone have more fuel efficient ways to operate it from a hypermiler's perspective?
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In city driving acceleration is obviously affected when the A/C is on, and I'm sure it hurts fuel economy some but I don't drive regularly enough in the city to notice it. On the highway there's a little power loss, but I can't discern any difference in gas mileage with A/C on or off. A very narrow temp range (unless it's raining = no windows) I'll toggle the A/C on and off every few minutes, but otherwise I leave it on, temp. knob all the way to cold, and use only the fan to regulate the temperature - I've never needed to sustain more than speed 3. Defroster is a different story - I'll toggle it depending on conditions. Sometimes, if I anticipate needing to make an aggressive maneuver, I'll kick the air off ahead of time so I have all the juice from the get-go, but that's very rare.
 

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Another thing I noticed, if I'm using my AC I get better MPG if I also use a lower gear to keep the RPMs above 2000RPM, seems the ECU wants to run 1500RPM with the AC on around town making the car a dog and putting the engine under much more load in even normal driving conditions.
I've never tried that but it makes sense. It's very possible that's the case and I've just never had the car in those conditions for a long enough period to notice. Though mine's a manual and I don't make a habit of putting it under much load at all below 2,200.
 
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