Does Cruise Control Save Gas?
There are plenty of good reasons to use cruise control. A feature that is available on most modern vehicles, engaging cruise control will allow your vehicle to maintain a consistent speed without the driver managing the throttle. This is a great option on long drives when you settle into a steady freeway speed for hours at a time.
But does cruise control help you save gas on these kinds of drives? That is a benefit that some people believe to be true, but we’d like to take a closer look in this article to get to the bottom of the matter. Given the cost of gas, any small savings is a welcome relief, so it’s worth considering if this strategy can pay off for you in the long run.
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The Short Answer: Yes
If you use cruise control properly while on a long highway or freeway drive, you should experience a reduction in fuel consumption. Impressively, this technique has the potential to deliver rather significant fuel savings, with the possibility of boosting economy by 10% or more. If you regularly go on long drives, getting in the habit of using cruise control should serve you well from a fuel-efficiency standpoint.
This method works because of the consistency that it delivers over a long drive. If you manage the throttle manually for the whole drive, you are sure to allow the speed of the vehicle to fluctuate at least a little bit as you travel. You might trail off by a few miles per hour without noticing it, only to pick up the pack once you see that your speed has dipped. Or, you might go too fast for a little while, pushing your vehicle to a speed that is particularly inefficient.
These little errors are cleaned up when the cruise control is engaged. With the system set to maintain an appropriate speed for the road you are on, it will automatically manage the throttle in an efficient manner. The rewards of cruise control won’t be particularly notable on a short drive, but if you are going to be out on the freeway for hours, the savings can really start to add up. Also, beyond fuel savings, using cruise control can make for a more enjoyable trip, as you can simply pay attention to steering and watching for traffic while letting the vehicle manage the speed on its own.
Other Gas Mileage Tips
Employing the use of cruise control is not the only way to cut down on the amount of fuel your car or truck consumes. Here are a few other tips you might find helpful –
- Go on a diet. That is, put your vehicle on a diet to reduce the amount of weight you are carrying down the road. Having a bunch of heavy stuff in the trunk of your car or the bed of your truck is going to be a literal drag on acceleration. It will take more gas to get your vehicle up to speed, and keep it there, when additional weight is carried. Unless you need something for the trip you are taking, leave it at home and save on weight.
- Proper air pressure. Driving on tires that don’t have enough air is going to increase resistance as you drive along, and more gas will be consumed in the end. Make it a point to periodically check the inflation levels in your tires and adjust them to get in line with the recommendations on your tires and in your owner’s manual.
- Even out your drive. This one goes along the same lines as the idea of cruise control saving gas, but it applies more to city driving situations where engaging the cruise control is not an option. While going about your day-to-day driving, try to maintain an even speed when possible – it’s sudden changes in speed that cause you to use excessive fuel. So, rather than aggressively speeding up and slowing down, do your best to be gentle on the throttle and brake, when possible.
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