March 6, 2006

Ventilated auto seats can improve fuel economy by reducing air conditioning load

Washington, D.C. – A study by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) suggests that ventilated automotive seats can improve fuel economy by reducing the power needed for air conditioning. Ventilated seats increase the comfort of drivers and passengers near the body, reducing the need to cool the entire cabin.

An NREL study shows that the U.S. uses 26.4 billion litres (7 billion gallons) of fuel per year for light-duty vehicle air conditioning, equivalent to 5.5 per cent of the total national light-duty vehicle fuel use. NREL’s Vehicle Ancillary Loads Reduction team estimates there could be a 7.5 per cent reduction in air conditioning fuel use nationwide, a savings of 522 million gallons of fuel per year, if all passenger vehicles had ventilated seats.

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