The U.S. Department of Transportation
and National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) are hard at work developing new ways to make the air conditioners more efficient and reduce the interior tempteratures
in our cars and trucks. What's the big deal? Apparently, a whopping seven billion gallons of gasoline are used each and every year in the United States alone to run automotive AC units, which represents 5.5-percent of the country's fuel use. Burning that fuel emits more than 58 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Surely, then, anything that can be done to make air conditioners more effective is worth looking into, and the NREL has a helper called ADAM. The 160-pound Advanced Automotive Mannequin features 120 sensing zones and is used to effectively monitor the ambient and surface temperatures inside a car, among other things. The end result of the organization's findings could be a savings of some three billion gallons of gasoline per year. That's hot stuff.