Open Windows Cost More Than Air-con

- WOUND DOWN WINDOWS COULD COST MOTORISTS OVER £650,000 PER DAY -

Soaring fuel prices have led many motorists to change their driving behaviour to reduce the financial pain at the pumps.

But new research from Kwik Fit shows that almost 10 million drivers are taking one particular measure that could actually be increasing their fuel consumption.

Kwik Fit's latest study reveals that in hot weather, 9.7 million (28%) of drivers are turning off their air conditioning and opening a window instead. But, at speed, this is a false economy as the drag created by the open window can significantly affect their car's aerodynamics and therefore fuel consumption.

In warm weather an open window may be a better option for fuel saving motorists in stop-start traffic, but once moving freely Kwik Fit advises drivers to turn to the a/c.

New analysis of the latest traffic data for Kwik Fit reveals that with just an average 5% drop in fuel efficiency, on a single warm day, drivers opting for a 'windows down' approach could be increasing the nation's fuel bill by over £650,0002.

The research shows that motorists in and around Liverpool, Oxford, Edinburgh and London are most likely to keep their windows down and turn off the a/c.

But those in Manchester, Birmingham, Norwich and Sheffield are the biggest air con fans and it's in these areas where car windows are most likely to be kept shut.

David White, customer services director at Kwik Fit, says: "With fuel prices higher than ever, it's understandable that motorists are looking for ways to squeeze every last mile out of their tank. But they need to be careful that the measures they take are the right ones. Using air conditioning is far more fuel efficient on the open road and a whole deal more pleasant too. "Car owners should make sure their air con system is working effectively, and like other parts of the car, this means giving it a regular service to get the best from it. Gas naturally leaks from the system and they need to be re-charged every two years." Kwik Fit offers an air-conditioning gas recharge service at centres nationwide for just £49. Bookings can be made online at www.kwik-fit.com.

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