Browse Publications Technical Papers 2002-01-1958

Air Conditioning and Gas Guzzler Tax Credits 2002-01-1958

Rising fuel prices at the pump has consumers taking a closer look at the actual fuel economy they get versus the general label values stated on the vehicle window sticker. The label values are calculated by applying fixed correction factors to the city and highway fuel economy test results. The purpose of the correction factors is to convert the results generated under laboratory conditions into values that can be expected by customers. Because of today's fuel economy labeling method, the differences between some new accessory drive component technologies are never reflected to the end consumer. For example, the air conditioning is not used during the fuel economy test. Instead it is lumped into this fixed correction factor.
The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the magnitude of the air conditioning compressor load as compared to some other accessory drive loads and what causes these loads to vary. The significance of the component loads is presented in comparison to the work done to move the vehicle. Alternative air conditioning technologies are compared to today's systems to illustrate the significant contribution they can make to reduce the load on the accessory drive. A rating method is proposed to quantify the annual fuel economy benefit for alternative air conditioning technologies. The value of this benefit is determined by its impact on the Gas Guzzler Tax and Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) penalty.


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