Why is silver such a popular car colour?

Silver and white automobiles are environmentally friendly; black ones are not. Researchers at the Berkeley Lab Environmental Energy Technologies Division (EETD) say that the color of your car affects your car’s fuel economy and how seriously you contribute to pollution. A light-colored automobile shell reflects more sunlight than a dark-colored car shell. The cooler the color, the cooler the cabin air, and the less of a need to run your air conditioner.

Ronnen Levinson, scientist in the Heat Island Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is lead author of the study. The study was published in Applied Energy .

In Sacramento, California, the researchers placed two automobiles in the sun for an hour, one black and one silver, facing south. The silver Honda Civic (shell SR 0.57) had a cabin air temperature of about 5-6°C (9-11°F) lower than an identical black car (shell SR 0.05).

A silver (or white) shell would also allow for a smaller-capacity air conditioner. The cars were run through five identical cycles of soaking in the sun. Each cycle consisted of an hour of cooling with the air conditioners turned off, followed by a half hour of cooling with the air conditioners turned on full blast. The researchers evaluated the temperatures of the roof, ceiling, dashboard, windshield, seat, door, vent air, and cabin air in each automobile, as well as the weather conditions in the parking lot.

Overall, the data gathered in this car-color experiment revealed that adopting white or silver paint instead of black paint would increase fuel efficiency by 0.44 mpg (2.0 percent), cut carbon dioxide emissions by 1.9 percent, and lower other automobile emissions by roughly 1%.

Car air conditioning reduces fuel efficiency while simultaneously increasing tailpipe emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants. In this sense, cool-color cars influence both the driver and the planet.

Silver and white cars are cooler, says study
Roof surface temperatures recorded after soaking and chilling experiments are compared.

When the figures are applied nationally, they take on added importance. An improvement of 2 to 2 percent in fuel economy, scaled to the fleet of light-duty vehicles in the United States, represents savings of gallons of gas in the billions, if these design changes are adopted by the automotive industry.

White, silver, and other light colors are coolest, reflecting about 60 percent of sunlight but there are dark “cool” colors that can also stay cooler than traditional dark colors. When dark surfaces are required for aesthetics or to diminish brightness, specific “cool-colored” materials that reflect only the invisible component of sunlight may be used. Solar reflecting coatings may reduce the’soak’ temperature of the air in a parked automobile in the sun.

Manufacturing designers looking more closely into recipes for pigmented coatings that maximize solar reflectance colors would find plenty of interesting research into cool colors at the Berkeley Lab. For some years, its experts have been investigating roofing and cold hues. They tested the solar spectral reflectance (reflectance versus wavelength throughout the solar spectrum) of widely available pigments. The research team has developed a pigment database describing a variety of colors, including browns, blues, purples, greens, and reds, that are cool, in that they are highly reflective to near-infrared radiation.

“Potential advantages of solar reflective automobile shells: cooler cabins, fuel savings, and pollution reductions,” according to the paper. Ronnen Levinson, Heng Pan, George Ban-Weiss, Pablo Rosado, Riccardo Paolini, and Hashem Akbari, was recently published in the journal Applied Energy (Volume 88, pp. 4343–4357).

Related Questions

  • Why is silver a good car color?

    Silver, like gray, conceals dust and debris for a longer period of time. They also tend to conceal mud accumulation around automobile rocker panels. White is also in the easy-to-care-for category. But this color tends to show mud and splashes easier than gray and silver.

  • Is silver the most popular car color?

    The Most Popular Vehicle Colors in the United States (according to iSeeCars.Com)

    Rank Color Percentage Share
    1 White 25.8%
    2 Black 22.3%
    3 Gray 18.4%
    4 Silver 12.1%
  • Why are so many cars silver?

    Since it’s cheaper and purchasers prefer not to spend extra for color, automakers provide a narrower and safer palette on mass-produced automobiles, so you’re limited to ever-popular and inoffensive colours like white, silver, and black.

  • Is silver a luxury car color?

    White, black, silver, and gray are regularly linked with luxury and affluent social standing. They are elegant and often considered “classy,” at least compared to “loud” car colors like yellow and red.

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