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Does Heat Waste Gas? Everything You Need to Know!

Does Heat Waste Gas

As you are looking for ways to save money and lessen your car’s fuel consumption, you might’ve thought of your car consuming more gas because of heat that leads you to ask, does heat waste gas? The answer can vary depending on what kind of heat you are referring to. If it’s about using your car heater during the cold season, the answer is it might consume gas but not that much. If it is about heating or warming up your car before driving it, it can waste gas if you leave it idle for 5 minutes or more. If you are referring to the heat of the summer or the hot weather, it can reduce your fuel  economy especially when you are using an AC or driving with your windows down. Parking your car in direct sunlight can also cause gas evaporation and it will require you to visit the gas station more often.  

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Does Heat Waste Gas? – How can I use gas quickly?


The gas prices seem to go up fast and predictions say that it is still most likely to go up in the following weeks all the way to summer. With the increasing cost of filling up your car’s gasoline, you might want to plan or think of some ways to increase your car’s gas mileage and save some money. But what are the things that can make your car consume gas quickly? 


You might have read somewhere before about heat making your car consume more gas and you wonder, does heat waste gas? The answer depends on what you are referring to and we’ll go through each of them one by one. 


  • Does turning off heat in a car save gas?


This question has been asked by a lot of drivers but before we answer this question, we need to understand how the car heater works. 


Everyone knows that the car’s engine heats up when it is being used. It is for this reason that the engine has to have a good amount of coolant or water circulating within the cooling system to prevent your engine from overheating. This is done to take the heat from the engine into the car’s radiator and when it is there, the heat will be disposed of to the outside air as the coolant cools down and starts the process again. This process allows the engine to cool itself down. 


However, when you use your car heater and turn it on, some slight changes happen in the cooling process. The heat won’t be discarded to the outside air but the coolant that moves the heat from the engine enters into a small radiator somewhere in your car’s dashboard and then a fan will be turned on to direct the heat or warm air to the car’s cabin from the radiator. 


In other words, the heat supplied by the car heater basically comes from the car’s cooling system, the heat that is generated every time you turn on your engine. As your engine heats up while you are driving, the coolant is diverting the heater core inside the cabin and the needed heat will be supplied.  


So you ask, does heat waste gas? While the car heater uses gas to function, it does not waste gas since it only recycles the heat that is used to power the car from the engine. Only a small amount of gas will be used by the car heater and you might not be able to notice it. The car heater only consumes gas since it will need electricity to operate. It enables the internal fan to turn on so that the warm air from the engine can be sucked in and be blown inside your car.   


Does turning off heat in a car save gas? You can turn your car heater off but it will not make much difference. Car heaters can’t really affect your car’s fuel consumption. 


  • Does heating or warming up your car save gas?


It has become a common practice to warm up your car and allow it to idle before driving. It might not be needed anymore since today’s cars are now equipped with modern fuel injection systems and emissions controls. It won’t be necessary to warm up the engine anymore but sometimes, it is just difficult to break a habit.  


If you have an older car that is carbureted, whether it wastes gas or not, heating or warming the engine up is necessary so it will run smoother. When you heat the engine up before driving, the oil will be heated up, thinned out, and it can lubricate the engine properly. 


So you wonder, does heat waste gas? If you mean heating the engine up and allowing it to idle before hitting the road, then the answer is a big yes! You are wasting gas if you still do this even if you own a modern car equipped with an internal combustion engine. 


The modern cars can now detect cold weather because they are now equipped with electronic fuel injectors. If a cold weather has been detected, it will supply the needed extra gas into the gas to air mixture to compensate for the evaporation problem. This allows the car and its engine to be ready to move as soon as the engine begins to run. 


Heating up your engine and allowing it to idle to produce enough heat can cause you to release extra gas into your engine when you don’t even have to. It is just a waste of gas. Warming up your engine and leaving it running consumes gas and allowing it to idle for more than two minutes is similar to driving a mile. 


Aside from wasting precious gas, leaving your car idle for a while to heat the engine up can increase pollution and it can also increase damage to your engine. It is bad for the environment because it produces emissions into the air, contributing to air pollution. It is also bad for your engine since it creates extra unevaporated gas in the mix. It can strip the oils from the inside of your car’s engine, reduces the lubrication, and can increase its parts’ wear and tear.  


In extreme cold conditions, you can warm up your car but not to the extent of continuing to keep it idle for a while to give it more time to heat up. Extreme low temperatures can result in oils not being fully liquid when you first start your car. This will be the best time to have your car warmed up just enough to heat the oil up. Anything more than that will just be a waste of gas.  


  • Do cars use more gas in summer?


Does heat from the summer can cause your car to consume more fuel? Surprisingly, the hot weather can actually help increase the fuel economy of your car. It is said that your engine warms up to its needed temperature faster when the weather is warmer. The warm air during the warmer season can also cause less aerodynamic drag than cold air. Plus, the gasoline’s summer grades have a bit more energy. These things can contribute to your car’s fuel economy positively.  


So does heat waste gas? Summer heat can help your car’s fuel economy but it can also decrease it. Summer heat can waste gas when you use your car’s air conditioner or by driving with your windows rolled down. 


Using your air conditioner can lessen your fuel economy during hot weather. The effect can vary depending on some factors like the humidity, the outside temperature, and the sun’s intensity. When the weather is too hot, using your air conditioner can lessen your fuel economy by more than 25 percent. 


Driving with your windows open can also reduce your car’s fuel economy even if you are not using your air conditioner. Driving with your windows down can increase wind resistance that will make your car use more energy to push through the air. The fuel economy will be lesser when driving with the windows open compared to using the AC. The decrease will not be noticeable when you are driving at low speeds but the number will increase at higher speeds. 


To help you save more gas and not waste it, you can open your windows when you are driving at lower speeds and use your air conditioner at higher speeds. You can also try to drive your car with the windows rolled down for a bit before turning on the AC. This allows the hot air to exit the cabin first which will put less pressure on your car’s AC. 


Does Heat Waste Gas? – What makes your gas run out fast?


When you start to question, “does heat waste gas?”, it could mean that you are thinking for ways that can help you save money and reduce your car’s fuel consumption. With the gas prices constantly increasing, it is only practical that people would want to stretch their budget and find ways to increase their car’s fuel economy.


To help you with this problem, here are some of the things that you should avoid since it can make your gas run out quickly. 


  • Making excessive short trips. 


You might not notice it but making several short trips makes your car consume more gas. You are wasting gas if you are driving your car for quick trips. Your engine uses a considerable amount of gas whenever you start it. Plus, your engine will work more efficiently after it warms up and driving it for short trips won’t get it fully warmed up resulting in an increased fuel consumption. It is best that you drive your car and run all your errands in one go to maximize its fuel efficiency. 


  • Excess weight.


While keeping a spare tire in your trunk is a good habit, any other things kept in your car that add excess weight to it is not. Make sure that you clean your car or trunk and remove all unnecessary and heavy objects. Take them all out if they are not needed to improve the fuel economy of your car. Removing the excess weight can improve your fuel efficiency up to 2%. 


  • Aggressive driving. 


When you drive aggressively, it forces your car to switch gears at a rapid rate. If you do heavy braking and quick acceleration all the time, it could decrease your fuel economy by as much as 33 percent at highway driving. 


  • Sitting in traffic.


Sitting in traffic and experiencing traffic jams is like sitting your car idle somewhere, it wastes gas. Make it a habit to plot routes where you can get rid of traffic. You can make use of the technology and check for apps that give up-to-date traffic information. 


  • Speeding.


Driving too fast with a speed of more than 60 mph can create a higher air resistance which can decrease your car’s fuel economy. It is said that you are paying at least an extra 25¢ per gallon for gas when you drive at over 60 mph speed. 


  • Poor car care.


You probably already know that proper car care or maintenance can help improve your car’s fuel economy.  It is vital for the overall condition of your car. Issues like low tire levels, low fluid levels, and damaged components like sensors, thermostats, or brake calipers can all affect the fuel efficiency of your car.  


Does Heat Waste Gas? – Final Word


As there are several factors that can affect our car’s fuel efficiency, we need to be mindful of them and avoid anything that can cause it to consume more gas. Doing these things can help you save money, time, and it can even help the environment since it can also decrease your car’s carbon dioxide emissions. 


If you ask the question, “does heat waste gas?”, it means that you are searching for ways to stretch your budget and save more on gas. It is a good start. The basic necessities’ prices are going up including the gas prices, it is only right that we are proactive in finding ways to increase our car’s fuel economy. 




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