It was about two years ago when I first saw ice vests in a running catalog and thought something along the lines of “wouldn’t that be a sweet thing to wear in the car on the way to school instead of blasting my (non-working) A/C!” Well, it seems the idea hasn’t quite died. Some users on the EcoModder forums have recently been discussing this idea, so I thought I’d put together some of the ways I know to beat the heat without turning on the A/C, which reduces your fuel economy.
- Get an ice/cold vest: If you don’t want to look through a sports catalog for an ice vest, you can use something like this (shown in the picture above), that circulates cold water through a shirt next to your skin. These things are usually used by racers who need to be in their cars for long periods of time in extreme conditions, and can cost several hundred dollars. But if you really want to squeeze that extra 5 MPG by not turning on the air conditioning, this (or a cheaper version, like an athlete’s ice vest) might be for you.
- Throw on a beaded seat cover: I have yet to try this, but Darin Cosgrove, of MetroMPG ecomodding and hypermiling fame swears that it works. He even goes so far as to call it his “air conditioning.” I used to think they were just for hippies with back problems, but don’t let those biases deter you! I’ll be trying them out this summer, for sure.
- Check out the “EV Seat”: There sure isn’t much information, but the idea of a heating and air conditioning seat cover you can just plug in is definitely interesting. Check it out, and if you can find another version that’s a little more available looking, drop a comment and let me know!
- DIY a portable air conditioner: Instructables has some great stuff, but this DIY air conditioner is definitely one of the cheapest I have ever seen. If you feel like getting a little dirty, or just getting inspiration from this great device, you’ll be able to go without A/C all summer long.
- Window tint is your friend: I haven’t done this yet, but this summer I will be finding some heat-reflective window tint and doing up my windows in order to keep the heat down just a few degrees. It works and is worth checking out, especially if you leave your car parked out in the sun.
I’ll be trying out all these things this summer, looking to get the best mix for me, my fuel economy, and my wallet, so look forward to some updates.
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