Few motorists know what the meaning is of a button with the pictogram of a car with an arrow in it. Even less known is that with this recirculation mode you save up to 10 percent fuel on hot days during short trips.
The button, which is standard in most modern cars, is primarily intended to protect occupants against toxic gases, for example when driving through a tunnel. But this so-called recirculation button also ensures that the air in the car itself cools down much faster. The air conditioning does not always have to cool new warm and humid air.
Air conditioning does not have to work as hard
By recirculating the air in the system, the air conditioner gets a lot easier. Since the air conditioner uses some of the engine’s power to function – and battery power in electric cars – the faster it cools down requires less of the engine. That means lower fuel consumption.
According to the British newspaper The Sun fuel consumption increases by up to about 10 percent when the recirculation mode is not used. The effects are especially noticeable during short journeys, because the air conditioning has to work extra hard to cool the hot car.
According to the RAC, the British equivalent of the ANWB, it is advisable to open the windows for a minute or two to allow all the warm air to escape for the lowest possible fuel consumption. You should do this until the air from the vents feels cooler than the outside temperature.
‘Leave it on during short journeys’
“As soon as cold air comes out of the vents, you have to close all windows and press the recirculation button,” says a spokesperson for the RAC. “You use much less energy than if you keep warm outside air flowing through the system.”
According to the RAC, the effects are especially noticeable during short journeys, because you can then continue to use the recirculation mode without any problems. It is recommended to switch it off for longer distances. Because there is no fresh air supply, the amount of carbon dioxide in the car increases. This can lead to fatigue, poor concentration or a reduced reaction speed.
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