Christmas Decorations on Your Ride are Really a Drag


Most Christmas-related automotive content is cheesy at best. At least half the time, it’s cringe-worthy, and the farther a company stretches to make the tie-in work, the more painful it is to sit through. But every once in a while, one of these videos ends up actually being funny or informative. The latest video from GMC is the latter.

In an ad to highlight the new Terrain‘s more slippery shape, GMC asks the question, “How do Christmas decorations affect gas mileage?” Even if people decorating their cars are more concerned with holiday cheer than maximizing fuel economy, it’s at least an interesting premise. Plus, the more informed people are, the better they can be at making decisions.

After testing different decorations in a wind tunnel, GMC found that a wreath won’t affect your fuel economy at all, but reindeer antlers and a red nose each come with a one-mile-per-gallon penalty. Driving around with a large bow on your roof, however, reduces fuel economy by about three miles per gallon. As for a roof-mounted Christmas tree, the video doesn’t say how much it reduces fuel economy, but it did say drag nearly doubles.

In the words of General Motors’ aerodynamics performance engineer Joel Ruschman, if you’re concerned about gas mileage but feeling festive, “Decorate your house. Don’t decorate your car.”

This video does raise other questions, however. For example, what kind of effect would a roof-mounted Menorah have? And what about a Festivus pole? Unless GMC tests those, the world may never know.


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Christmas Decorations on Your Ride are Really a Drag

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