The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has demonstrated that ventilated automotive seats can improve a vehicle's fuel economy, according to a March 2 press release from the NREL. Ventilated seats keep drivers and passengers cooler, so they need less air conditioning to be comfortable, researchers say.NREL's Vehicle Ancillary Loads Reduction team has been working with industry to try to reduce fuel consumption from air conditioning in cars and trucks. The use of ventilated seating is one way to cut air conditioning, and the NREL says recent research shows that it works."If all passenger vehicles had ventilated seats, we estimate that there could be a 7.5 percent reduction in national air-conditioning fuel use. That translates to a savings of 522 million gallons of fuel a year," said John Rugh, project leader for NREL's Vehicle Ancillary Loads Reduction Project.Automotive supplier W.E.T. Automotive Systems Ltd. provided NREL with ventilated seats for testing. Each seat contains two fans that pull air from the seat surface and out from underneath the seat. General Motors currently offers this ventilated seat as an option for the Cadillac STS.