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Roof Racks Raised US Gas Usage by 100M Gallons

Study shows increased drag can increase fuel usage by 25%.

by on Apr.29, 2016

See that handy roof rack? It could be cutting the mileage on that Ford Explorer by 25%.

Wondering what might be dragging down the mileage on your sporty new SUV or crossover? Look no further than your roof. According to a new study, roof racks may cost drivers as much as 25% more in gas usage.

Researchers in the first-of-its-kind study discovered that in in 2015, these popular add-ons were accounting for nearly 1% of all light-duty vehicle gasoline consumption. On the surface, it may not sound like much, but it equates to more than 100 million gallons of gas annually.

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“I’ve always been intrigued by energy consumption that was somehow overlooked or ignored because, for example, it wasn’t in the test procedure,” said Alan Meier, who co-authored the study with Yuche Chen of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. “In this case the fuel consumption of vehicles with after-market accessories isn’t captured in the test procedure.” (more…)