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How car colour affects its fuel economy

By Kennedy Ilediagu
Publish on September 20, 2019

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Many drivers think of ways to make their cars more efficient! We have decided to bring you how car colour affects fuel economy. Check details below!

It's a known fact that car companies are seeking ways to boost fuel economy in any version of car they put out into the market. However, that doesn't stop you as a driver or car owner from coming up with great steps of your own. There has been a myth that the car colour can actually affect fuel efficiency.

Well Naijauto.com is here to either debunk or accept it. At first it might sound funny because we're only used to the engine being adjusted for efficiency but what has paint got to do with all of that? Well you may have learnt in elementary science that colour determines absorption, reflection and temperature in a lot of cases. Well, that's also how it affects emissions, efficiency and general performance of a car. That said, let's go right into the topic of the day - how car colour affects fuel economy.

1. Through absorption and reflection of light or sun rays

From our research, we have realised that lighter coloured cars save over 2% more fuel than dark coloured cars. You might feel that 2% is negligible but it really is not. If you drive a 50 liter tank car that can travel a 10 hour journey, 2% of that is 1 liter which equals at least 12 minutes extra for you. Let me explain how that works.

There's a theory of absorption and reflection which explains that dark colours absorb light, rays or heat while lighter colours reflect them. To be exact, dark colours can only reflect 5% of rays while light colours reflect at least 60%. Due to the absorption by dark colour cars, more air conditioning will be needed to cool the vehicle and that means more fuel getting used. Asides that, if you look at your car atimes, you might notice evaporation too. That's as a result of the absorption and reflection.

car-in-dark-color

Dark cars absorb more heat and light than lighter ones

Furthermore, these absorption ans reflection theory goes in depth to cause variations in temperature. A research company carried out an experiment where a black coloured car and another painted silver (which is a common colour for cars in Nigeria and other tropical regions) were packed under the scorching hot sun on a usual summer day. When the solar reflection of the shell of the two cars were checked, the black one measured 0.58 and the silver car measured 0.05. Wide difference you would say.

But that's not all, when the roof of both cars were also checked, the black one had more than 400 F more temperature than the silver one. When the interior of both cars were checked, the black still had over a hundred more Fahrenheit of heat than the silver car. This went to show that it would require almost 14% more air to cool the black vehicle unlike the silver car.

Now, when you step into both cars, you'll have to put on the air conditioning to make it comfortable enough to be in or even drive. The air conditioning will require the engine to run. Therefore the engine will have to run a lot longer for the black car and this means more fuel will be consumed.

The car with the lesser heat will need lesser air conditioning, thus lesser fuel. It also means that less carbon dioxide will be emitted by the light coloured car. So it's not only being fuel efficient but also helping ensure a better climate.

>>> Not just car color, car shape affects its fuel economy as well. Check our post How your car shape affects fuel consumption

2. Car colour affects engine load

With the car being hot, the air conditioning being put on, there will be a lot of load on the engine. The car with less heat won't have much load on the engine as it doesn't require much energy consumption. Let's not forget that other parts of the darker coloured car gets heated up also. This means more electricity consumption even when other accessories like power windows, locks, stereo and sensors are being used.

When the engine experiences extra load, it tends to combust more fuel to enable it function effectively. You know this can also hurt your engine in the long run and have you visiting your mechanic more often than not.

yellow-ferrari-812-superfast-f

You may consider repainting your car after reading this post

That said, there are ways you can prevent your car from still using up so much fuel. You just have to be diligent enough to follow through with it. You can decide not to put on the air conditioning but rather open the doors for the car to cool before you drive. You can also wind down windows on hot days while driving and ensure that your car has fluids at the ideal levels. If you do not intend to repaint your car, you can simply park it under a shed or get a reflective car cover.

Now that you know how car colour affects fuel economy, you can buy or repaint your vehicle to suit your budget.

>>> For more info read more about car maintenance and interesting car facts here on Naijauto.com!

Kennedy Ilediagu is an experienced wordsmith and a creative automotive writer for Naijauto.com. His forte ranges from vehicle maintenance and latest industry updates, to car review articles. He is also a brand management and content creation expert who has worked with Daily Posts (United Kingdom), ESUT Egg Day magazine, and many others for years. Digital copies written by him inform, educate and engage readers globally. When Kennedy is not writing, he is busy taking care of animals, traveling or watching football.