This takes some loose logic, but the U.S. Department of Energy and its National Renewable Energy Laboratory are reporting that the use of new ventilated seats like those available as an option in the Cadillac STS will likely contribute to a 7.5% reduction in using a vehicle's air conditioner, thus improving a vehicle's fuel economy. Spread across the nation that would amount to 522 million gallons of fuel saved. The NREL used ComfortCool seats by W.E.T. Automotive Systems in its tests.

While we're huge fans of heated and ventilated seats, we're not convinced that the habit of flicking on the A/C can be easily replaced by seats that blow cold air on our bums. The parasitic loss an engine experiences when the A/C is on can also be dealt with in other ways like more powerful ancillary electrical systems that assume the burden of powering the A/C's compressor. The new Honda Civic Hybrid employs such a system so that it's A/C doesn't shut down at stop lights when the engine is temporarily turned off.

[Source: Ward's Auto]


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