does ac use gas or electricity in a car

March 6, 2023
does ac use gas or electricity in a car

Does AC Use Gas or Electricity in a Car?

The short answer is that it depends. Most cars rely on the power generated by the engine to cool the air, typically using a belt attached to the engine’s crankshaft. This power is sent to an AC compressor, which pumps a refrigerant around the system to cool the car down. In most cars, electricity is not used to power the air conditioning, but some advanced systems are now using an electric compressor and require an additional power source.

Gas-Powered AC Systems

The majority of cars on the road today use an AC system that is driven by the engine. The pulley on the compressor, through which coolant circulates to eradicate heat, is driven by the engine via a belt or chain system. This type of AC is extremely efficient, seeing as all of the components needed, such as the radiator or heat exchanger and the condenser, are powered by the engine.

Electric-Powered AC Systems

In many newer automobiles, including high-end luxury vehicles and hybrids, the AC is powered by electricity instead of gas. This type of system usually consists of an electric compressor instead of a gas-powered system which can reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

Benefits of Electric-Powered AC

There are several advantages of an electric-driven AC system, including:

  • Fuel economy: An electric-powered AC can consume up to 30% less fuel than a gas-powered system. This can also reduce emissions and improve the car’s overall fuel efficiency.
  • No need for engine power: An electric-powered AC does not require the engine to be running in order to work, thus preserving engine power for other tasks.
  • Reduced engine wear and tear: By reducing the engine’s workload, electric-powered AC systems can lower engine wear and tear.


Most cars today use a gas-powered AC system to cool the air in the vehicle, however, the popularity of electric-powered AC systems is increasing. Electric-powered systems offer many advantages over gas-powered, such as improved fuel economy, reduced engine wear and tear, and no need for engine power.

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