Staying fuel efficient during the summer months in Alabama is just like tricking the devil.
You can’t really do it.
Realize you’re proposing to outrun the sun… It’s up there trying to boil you alive everyday. Sweltering heat and rising mercury says your cab is cooked.
The only question is how to manage.
Start by taking precautions with heat; think about the way you’re going to use your vehicle – or not – to save on fuel. This gains all the more importance for fleet drivers and managers trying to cut down on fuel consumption.
In the summer you’ve got a surefire amount of fuel economy on your side. Consider the alternative:
Starting your car in Chicago during January. You’ve got to warm up your vehicle, but the engine is frozen so it takes a while for it to build up heat and efficiency. That’s all using more power to just get up to speed.
In the summer you may only need 50 amps to start your engine. Compare that to 300 amps in a cold (not frozen) V8 engine. It only takes half a second to start your engine in warm weather. But it can take 3-5 seconds to start the same engine once the temperature drops below 32 degrees.
This is to say nothing of your battery and alternator working properly in the cold, which they often don’t. And try pushing your vehicle out of the ice – you may end up breaking off the spoiler.
In the summer, you turn on your truck and go. The engine quickly gets up to an efficient temperature, which saves your fuel.
Speaking of fuel, according to the US Energy Information Administration: “Summer-grade gasoline has a lower volatility than winter-grade gasoline to limit evaporative emissions that normally increase with warm weather and cause unhealthy ground-level ozone.”
The biggest cost will come through air conditioning, which can slash your fuel quarter up to one quarter. If you’re driving a hybrid or fully electric vehicle, this energy loss can climb even higher.
A lesser aerodynamic loss can come from driving with your windows down; this leads to drag at high speeds, which lessens fuel economy.
Conserve your AC use – being frugal with temperature settings will give you extended fuel life. Park in shady spots to keep the cab cooler, requiring less AC.
A great tip is to roll your windows down prior to running the AC, that will make cooling the interior easier, requiring less energy.
Open the windows prior to driving instead of running the AC….The vehicle will actually cool faster while it’s running compared to when it’s static.
As you can see, these steps mitigate heat with smart air conditioning habits. But you’re going to be balancing comfort and efficiency.
In the Alabama summer, it’s plain tough to tame the devil.