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Jerry Brown: Bring back those old-fashioned floor vents and triangular vent windows and save fuel!

Well, I've been waiting for Governor Jerry Brown to answer my email for long enough now. Perhaps it's because I'm not part of his constituency...(I'm from Quebec)...anyway, here's my idea and maybe some Californians will read this and email their governor. After all, it's California that decides what regulations will apply to North American cars....Is anyone reading this old enough to remember when North American cars had floor vents? Just reach down beside your legs on the outside of the footwell and pull a lever, and enormous amounts of cold air would rush up your legs and engulf your body (when you were moving at speed of course). That, combined with the little triangular windows at the front corner of the front windows, which could be opened and directed onto your face, was all you needed much of the time for cooling. Then the Japanese introduced their cars without those vents, but with air conditioning, and by the end of the 70s NA manufacturers got wise, and found out they could sell a lot more air conditioning units with their cars if they eliminated those vents. I just bought a Volkswagen Jetta and it's so streamlined that you can't open any window to get some air without severe buffeting. So now I have to have the air conditioning turned on in three seasons. And I live in Canada for crying out loud! What a waste of energy. Please bring back the floor vents (and triangular windows.


  • "now I have to have the air conditioning turned on in three seasons."

    Why can't you simply turn off the A/C compressor while you run the fan in order to send air through the dash vents? On a modern vehicle, that gives you as much air as you could possibly want, with the added advantages of no wind noise and the filtering provided by the HVAC's cabin air filter.
  • @lavaman,

    In my car, when I crack a window, air flows through the vents and out the window, even if the fan is off. If I want to close those vents, I press the "recirculate" button on the climate controls. With both windows down, I get lots of air flow without the triangular vent windows.

    I'm not sure if you haven't thought this through or if you haven't done the testing to realize your ideas aren't going to save any fuel.
  • I agree that setting the system on just vent, with the heat in the off position, you can get outside air from the dash, the floor or both. the fan will regulate just how much fresh air you want. I do this often in the in-between seasons.

    OP needs some lessons in how his system really works.
  • edited November 2013
    @lavaman wrote: " Then the Japanese introduced their cars without those vents, but with air conditioning"

    I must disagree. Side vents were disappearing on American cars back in the late '60's, when Japanese cars were just a curiosity and came with no AC AFAIK.

    In my Matrix I get buffeting if I only open the rear window's pretty wide, but it stops if I crack a front window just a little; it disrupts the "tuning".
  • edited November 2013
    Yep, my '72 Duster didn't have vent windows (no Dusters did, starting in '67). Didn't have a/c, either, until I put it in.

  • ^
    The OP's claims are essentially all baseless and simply represent somebody who is unfamiliar with how his HVAC system can be operated, and also has a lot to learn about fuel economy-related topics.
  • +1 for VDCdriver. I'll rely on your word since I stopped reading at the words "Jerry Brown."
  • A great deal of effort was made to keep passengers cool before air conditioning became a factory option. Fold out windshields, floor vents, swing out windows front and rear and a great many roof openings. The old VW bus had a vent in the overhanging roof at the front that pushed a lot of air into the passenger area at highway speed. Today all the effort is toward individual climate control for each seat.
  • Screws up the aero and likely wastes fuel. The Mythbusters guys did a somewhat flawed segment on AC On vs Windows down on a truck and found the AC On was a tiny bit better. The same argument is used for pickup truck drivers to run with the tailgate down. Ford tested this one and said it doesn't help fuel economy to run tailgate down. (flame-on! for the tailgate thing, lots of arguments here)
  • In theory, you could source inlet air from a stagnant, high pressure area (like the front bumper) and discharge it to a low pressure area with disturbed flow (maybe the wheel wells?) and both ventilate and reduce equivalent flat plate area.
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