The age old question, does cruise control save gas? We answer that question and more in this article, but lets get started with the basics. Cruise control is an electronic system that allows you to set the speed of your car, and stick to it. It means that after you select your speed, the car will automatically continue doing this speed without you having to change gears or use your pedals. It is helpful when driving long distances that are monotonous such as the freeway, or to maintain a speed where there may be speed cameras.
The Benefits of Cruise Control
Cruise control is helpful for high speed, continuous roads. It is perfect for roads that are a similar level, where you do not have to shift down a gear. Although, most modern cars these days will automatically adjust the gears and rpm for you. There are a lot of advantages of using cruise control, from comfort to efficiency. It is more convenient to use cruise control if the option is there whilst travelling on the freeway, as you can simply cruise along.
Cruise control helps you avoid speeding as you set your speed. To do this, you drive manually (using the accelerator pedal) to the speed you desire, and set your cruise control to this speed. This is different depending on the vehicle you have. This helps you stay at the correct speed. And usually you’re able to increase or decrease the set speed incrementally by using the cruise control functions in the car.
Cruise control is also beneficial for comfort. If you’re driving a long distance, it is nice to give your feet and legs a break if you have the chance. By using cruise control, you can give your legs a rest when the road is safe to do so.
Finally, cruise control is highly beneficial for your gas consumption and fuel economy. By putting your foot down on the gas pedal, to accelerate and constantly adjust your speed, you’ll naturally be using more gas, where cruise control can keep this at a constant optimal level, therefore requiring less gas to maintain the desired speed. By using cruise control, you are not using more fuel than you need to use, hence why it boosts your fuel economy.
Negatives of Cruise Control
Cruise control can have some negative effects, such as the potential distractions when you are not manually driving, and the risk for tired drivers. When you are not using your gas pedal, you may be inclined to focus more on other functions within the car, or even use your smartphone. This is not safe, but it may feel like it is easier to multitask with cruise control, although this is not the case and is something you need to be aware of.
It is not wise to do this, and this is important to remember when using cruise control. Driving when tired (especially at night) feels gruelling and hard work in itself, so using cruise control, whilst it does help you relax a little bit as you don’t need to worry about maintaining the speed yourself, driving itself will still wear you down, so ensure that you take appropriate breaks on long distances as you begin to feel tired.
It can also be argued that because you’re not manually interacting with the car by constantly maintaining the speed with your feet, the driving experience becomes less mentally stimulating. The effect this could have is a slower response time when emergency braking is required or general lack of awareness.
Does cruise control save gas?
All in all, cruise control does save gas for your car. It is able to help your car maintain a continuous speed, therefore you are not using that extra gas by pushing your foot down on the pedal when it may not be necessary.
The act and change of accelerating then braking means your car is stopping and starting and losing momentum, so you naturally use more gas. By using cruise control, it ensures you maintain the same speed, so it will not use more than you need for the road. Cruise control actually helps you save around 7-14% on gas consumption!
Is cruise control better or worse for your gas mileage?
If you are using cruise control on a flat and straight road such as the freeway, it means you will not have to brake as much or alter your speed. By doing this, you are only using what you need to. This will save on gas miles as you will not use more.
Consequently, by using cruise control on a hilly road, or one with lots of twists and turns, you may burn more gas than if you were on a straight road when using cruise control. This is because you have to drive with the road, braking at the corners and switching gears on a hill and the cruise control system might not be able to handle this as efficiently as a straight road.
Does cruise control damage your engine?
Cruise control is not bad for your engine, but actually the opposite. It assists your engine because it cuts back on manual acceleration, which engages the engine more. So, it saves your engine work by staying at a constant speed. As the cruise control system is much more gentle than human input.
Does cruise control damage transmission?
In newer cars, cruise control does not damage the transmission or engine of your car. If the car has factory fitted cruise control, the system will work with the transmission and engine. This will make sure no overheating or over-speeding will occur.
The only risk that there may be is if the clutch switch is not properly fitted. When you press the clutch, the cruise control should disengage. If the clutch switch does not work properly, the cruise control system may overpower the transmission and engine.
Should I use cruise control all the time?
Although cruise control is helpful for convenience and beneficial for your engine, it is not applicable to use it all the time. For example, when sitting in traffic, cruise control will not help. This is because of the continuous braking and starting. Although, if it’s a more modern car with adaptive cruise control and it does this automatically for you, then this doesn’t apply.
Another example of cruise control not being beneficial is on hilly roads with uncertain terrain. The cruise control will struggle to pick up depending on the gear your car is in, and you may have to brake for corners and slow down. This will be more effort for you to use cruise control, and it will not work to the best of its ability.
Is accelerating with cruise control bad?
There is no particular harm to accelerating whilst using cruise control. The cruise control systems are designed to allow the driver to increase or decrease speed with the controls that are provided. The system will manage the speed according to the drivers inputs and will do it in a smooth manner.
Does cruise control use more oil?
Cruise control does not use more engine oil, as the cruise control actually stabilizes your speed and your engine, meaning it will not struggle as much. There’s no direct correlation between oil used whether you’re using cruise control or not.
Below is a video that supports this article, and helps further answer the question, does cruise control save gas?