It is summertime and many people are planning road trips. If you are one of those people planning to hit the open road this summer, you need to have a plan to carry your camping gears, sports equipment, and other bulky items. One of the most popular ways to transport these items is by using a rooftop carrier. Roof boxes are designed to allow people to transport those items that are otherwise hard to carry inside the vehicle. But attaching a bulky roof box on the roof of your precious car will definitely have an impact on the fuel economy of your vehicle.
A rooftop carrier can be handy for transporting things that do not fit in the trunk of the car but you have to think of the effect it has on the fuel economy, too. Many people feel a difference in car mileage after setting up a car roof carrier. This is caused by the additional weight and changed aerodynamics of the vehicle, mainly. Having a rooftop carrier leads to drag even if the resistance is good. While rooftop cargo boxes do affect fuel economy, you can opt for the Aerodynamic Roof Boxes.
Why People Install Roof Boxes
Rooftop carriers can be soft or hard-shell. They can be used to pack in wide range of items like skis, fishing rods, and snowboards. Some cargo boxes can be set up even if your car lacks a roof rack. You may find a model which can be simply strapped onto the car rooftop. Most rooftop carriers are compatible with a broad range of vehicles including sedans and SUVs. Thanks to the arrival for newer models, now you don’t necessarily have to install a permanent roof rack just to get a roof box attached to your car. As far as fuel economy is concerned, it is wise to remove the rooftop carrier when you are not going to use it for some time.
Gas Mileage Will Be Affected
The reality is your car’s gas mileage will be impacted after setting up a rooftop carrier. However, the amount is variable. No matter how aerodynamic the carrier box is, it will have an effect on the fuel economy. And there is nothing you can do about it.
Fuel Consumption Is Impacted By Drag Directly
Fuel consumption is impacted by drag directly. When the car weight goes up, the drag increases. That simple means that your car will have to work harder in order to maintain the same speed. According to United States Environmental Protection Agency – if you take out 100 pounds of weight from a vehicle, the fuel economy will see at least 1 to 2% improvement. If you drive a car which gives 20 miles per gallon, taking out 100 pounds of weight can theoretically help you save 2 gallons.
Now, this might not sounds like a huge number but once accumulated over a period of time, it can make a noticeable difference in your fuel bill. This is the reason why it is always advisable to take off roof box from your car when you are not using it.
Airflow Is Another Factor
Airflow affects fuel consumption too. The air flowing over the car roof gets obstructed- leading to reduced fuel economy. If you think that driving with the windows open can help- you are wrong. The fuel economy will get impacted in a negative way if you do so.
It is always better to drive with the windows closed and the sunroof shut when you have a rooftop carrier installed on your car. You can also use aerodynamic add-ons in order to reduce drag. These add-ons are designed to improve airflow around the vehicle. If you want, you can ask your mechanic about it and he will surely be able to help you out.
Size and Design
The cargo box’s size and design will impact the fuel economy. Aerodynamically shaped models will have a reduced impact on mileage. Look for such models when you shop for the rooftop cargo boxes.
Can You Do Anything About Reduced Fuel Mileage?
While you can’t stop the effect on fuel economy, you can reduce it to an extent. Try driving within the recommended speed limit- to start with. Reduced speed means lower drag and better fuel economy, as it is. Some rooftop carrier makers mention a higher speed limit.
On average, rooftop cargo box usage can increase fuel consumption by 20% to 35%. You can drive slowly and pick a model that has an aerodynamic design. Besides, remember to remove the rooftop cargo boxes when you do not plan to use them for some months.