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Old 10-26-2010, 04:16 PM   #1
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mpg help

Hi everyone. Just wondered, does having the radio on and using the air blower and even the cigarette lighter (to charge the phone) reduce mpg? I have a 2001 VW Golf MK4 diesel.
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Old 10-28-2010, 12:50 AM   #2
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No, not any that you would notice. Running the A/C does however make a difference.
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Old 10-28-2010, 09:42 AM   #3
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ah, thanks for that
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Old 10-28-2010, 10:29 PM   #4
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Yes it will, lets work it out.

Say the blower is on middle setting then say 10 amps.

Radio say 2 amps

charger 0.5 amps

=12.5 amps

System voltage of 13.8 volts

13.8 x 12.5 = 172.5 watts.

Say the alternator is 75% efficecnt.

(1/0.75) * 172.5 = 230 watt input power

1 hp = 745 watts.

230 / 745 = 0.3hp

calorific value of diesel is 45MJ/kg

Density of diesel is about 0.832 kg/l

45 x 0.832 = 37.44MJ/L

3.6MJ = 1kWh

37.44 / 3.6 = 10.4kWh per L

230 watts for an hour = 0.23kWh = 0.23\10.4 = 0.02212 litres hour.

Say you get 50MPG when driving with an average speed of 40mph you will have:

where 1 gallon = 4.5L

0.02212\4.5 = 0.004916 *100% = 0.5% increase in fuel consumtion.

Not got time to check the math above but sounds a realistic value to me.

Jonathan
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Old 10-29-2010, 03:59 PM   #5
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Yeah, logic tells me that any additional electric device (lightbulbs, radio, even windshield wipers) add stress on the alternator.

The AC uses a lot of electricity, that's why most people tend to turn it off when driving fuel efficiently.

But if your radio has 2x50W front speakers, and additional 2x100W trunk woofers, the total power consumed by your radio would be well over 300W. When used at max volume, the radio is coming dangerously close to the power required of an AC system.
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Old 11-02-2010, 08:43 AM   #6
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Actually the reason the A/C causes a decrease in fuel mileage is due to the drag on the motor when the A/C clutch is in engaged.
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Old 11-04-2010, 06:02 AM   #7
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All electrics drain fuel.

A great example was my old Rover 218is.

Whilst idling at the lights once I wound down my window(electrically)

and my revs dropped a bit and the electronic fuel management system released more fuel to get the idle back to normal.

That was just one window!

You try this and see what I mean, just watch your revs and see!
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Old 11-05-2010, 01:46 AM   #8
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a great set of comprehensive answers, thanks guys
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Old 11-10-2010, 07:10 AM   #9
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Yea what efritsch says, ACs main cause for reduced MPG is not electrical load but the mechanical load the compressor puts on the engine. Although of course the fan keeping the condesor/radiator cool does add a little to fuel consumption.
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Old 11-11-2010, 10:46 PM   #10
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Bottom line:

At highway speeds (not idling), your use of the Alternator's output power is going to have very little effect on your MPG. Might affect it as much as 1 MPG, if you are running a lot of "electrics". This includes things like the fan for your interior, a high powered radio, etc. Electric window defrosters (like on most car rear windows) things like this.

The clutch for your A/C compressor is basically an electro-magnet that pulls the thing together so that the engine can now turn the A/C pump. The pump itself is mechanically driven, not electrical as someone above pointed out, and that in itself is a heck of a load, as the engine has to work harder to turn it to compress your refrigerant and make it cold. Yes it also electrically runs the front fan (depending on conditions and vehicle) more often than it would normally run.

At idle however, the engine is turning a lower RPM. This means the alternator output is also lower, so when you throw a heavier load on the electrical, the engine has to pick up to maintain the output. As someone else pointed out, even rolling down a window can make this happen, but doing that while driving will not as the RPM is higher. Anyways, as an answer to the original question, I would have to say that it won't affect your MPG as much as you would think it would.
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