Those reindeer antlers on your car are a drag, literally

The additional air resistance makes your engine work harder.
SJ Smith truck

You’ve likely seen cars and trucks driving around this holiday season bedecked with antlers, bows or other Christmas-Y decorations.

While there is no doubt these rolling signs of the season are festive, according to a report in USA Today, they aren’t so economical.

The study shows that adding holiday items to a vehicle creates more surface for wind resistance, leading to poorer gas mileage.


•Reindeer antlers and Rudolph’s nose create about a 1-mile-per-gallon decrease in highway fuel efficiency and a 3% increase in drag coefficient — commonly understood as air resistance.

•A roof-mounted bow creates a 3.5-mpg decrease in highway fuel efficiency and a 15% increase in drag coefficient.

•A Christmas tree tied to a roof creates a 30% decrease in highway fuel efficiency and a 70% increase in drag coefficient. Air pushes against a tree with about 90 pounds of force.

•A grille-mounted wreath has no impact on aerodynamics but may reduce cooling airflow to the engine.

But who can put a price on holiday spirit, right?