For many of us, using cruise control comes second nature on a long drive. From speed-setting to automatic braking, it’s a handy feature to make lengthy trips a little bit easier. But have you ever wondered how cruise control affects your fuel efficiency?
It’s commonly assumed that cruise control saves on gas. As the thinking goes, by maintaining a steady speed, cruise control moderates fuel consumption more effectively than a driver manually pressing and releasing the gas pedal.
However, according to Autolist, that isn’t always the case. While it’s generally true that cruise control can improve fuel economy across long, flat stretches of road, there are no hard and fast rules.
How well your cruise control performs under different conditions depends on the make and model of your vehicle. No matter what you’re driving, though, keep these benefits in mind when determining whether to use cruise control on your next drive.
- It’s easy to use. Most systems have an on and off button in addition to buttons that allow you to change the speed in one-mph increments. In newer or more advanced systems, there may also be features like adaptive cruise control, which helps keep your car at a safe distance from others on the road.
- It can improve your focus. When the cruise control is set, you’re more available to focus on the road instead of worrying about maintaining a consistent speed. And since you don’t need to keep your foot on the gas, cruise control can also make driving more comfortable.
- It can help reduce speeding tickets. There are no guarantees, but if you’re notorious for racking up speeding tickets, cruise control may be your answer. Especially when used on the highway, cruise control can help tame your inner lead foot.
When is cruise control inefficient?
While cruise control can be helpful in many cases, there are occasions when you may not want to use it, including drives through hilly or rocky terrain. Many systems are unable to keep up with the changing inclines, which could decrease your fuel efficiency. In addition, although not related to fuel efficiently, remember that cruise control could be compromising when used in weather conditions like rain, ice and snow.
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