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Air Conditioner Reduction Project to Reduce Vehicle Fuel Use by 30%

United States map depicting number of millions of gallons of cooling and dehumidification by state: Alabama 167, Alaska 1, Arizona 43, Arkansas 86, California 730, Colorado 76, Connecticut 61, Delaware 19, Florida 753, Georgia 251, Hawaii 68, Idaho 26, Illinois 242, Indiana 142, Iowa 68, Kansas 75, Kentucky 95, Louisiana 176, Maine 21, Maryland 118, Massachusetts 86, Michigan 186, Minnesota 86, Mississippi 85, Missouri 144, Montana 12, Nebraska 40, Nevada 61, New Hampshire 90, New Jersey 167, New Mexico 52, New York 273, North Carolina 187, North Dakota 12, Ohio 229, Oklahoma 109, Oregon 66, Pennsylvania 238, Rhode Island 15, South Carolina 127, South Dakota 17, Tennessee 179, Texas 735, Utah 43, Vermont 9, Virginia 187, Washington 64, West Virginia 37, Wisconsin 167, and Wyoming 7

A joint air conditioning (A/C) project between the DOE, NREL, EPA, Society of Automotive Engineers, and the automotive industry is officially underway. This Improved Mobile Air Conditioning (IMAC) project aims to deliver dramatic increases in the energy efficiency and substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from the operation of motor vehicle A/C systems. A technical goal of the IMAC project is to reduce A/C thermal load by 30%, increase the coefficient of performance by 30%, and reduce emissions by 50%. NREL brings its expertise in fuel use and emissions modeling, as well as technology development to the project.

Why focus on A/C systems? Because about 7 billion gallons of fuel—about 5.5% of total national light-duty vehicle fuel use—are used annually just to cool vehicles in the United States.

The project was announced at the 15th Earth Technologies Forum and Mobile Air Conditioning Summit, Spring, 2004. Following this announcement, NREL presented a technical paper that describes the project's analysis methodology, national and world A/C fuel use, and potential fuel saved.