“Does cruise control use more gas?” I was actually a little surprised about how common of a question this is on a Google search. If you’re wondering, then you’re in the right place!
What is cruise control?
In the year 2020, most cars come with cruise control, the few that might not are bare-bones base models, and the ultra-rare race-inspired supercars that focus on track use as opposed to daily driving uses. Cruise control is one of the best features for moderate to long road trips. Long gone are the days of having to hold your foot on the accelerator for the entire highway trip.
Cruise control is a feature that allows you to set a speed, and the car’s computer maintains that speed even when your foot is off the accelerator. Most cars capable of setting the cruise control at 20MPH and trucks are anywhere between 25-30MPH. This feature can be coupled with adaptive cruise control, which adds sensors and road scanning to make it even better.
Does cruise control use more gas?
Time for the big question then, does cruise control use more gas? The answer is simply no; Cruise control is better at maintaining a consistent speed opposed to us humans. We tend to get heavy-footed as we focus on the road, have a conversation, or we like the aspect of speed that our cars give us. The constant change in speeds makes the engine work more. When the engine works more, it requires more from the fuel system.
Cruise control increases our fuel economy by maintaining a steady speed, and by keeping the car in the most efficient gear possible. Keeping the car in the highest most efficient gear keeps the rotations of the engine per minute (RPMs) down to allow better fuel economy, and depending on the gear and speed while in cruise control, most modern cars go into Economy mode.
Economy mode typically turns on and off by itself. This mode is an advanced engine technology, that when activated, will adjust the throttle to decrease the flow of fuel, and it may also shut off any unused engine cylinders that are not needed, which is determined by the car’s computer. In most vehicles, economy mode shuts off at or above 65MPH.
Now, of course, if you set the cruise control at 100MPH, you will not see any significant differences in your fuel efficiency. Cruise control is a driver aid that, when used appropriately, is an easy driving technique that will save gas, and possibly save you from a ticket or two. At the end of the day, cruise control was designed to save fuel and make long trips easier for drivers.
The Bottom Line
So after reading this article, we now have a better understanding that cruise control does save fuel economy as opposed to not using it. I don’t know about you, but I like to bump my MPG numbers up as high as possible…unless I’m in a crazy hurry! So next time you’re on a long road trip, sit back, let cruise control do all the work, and watch your MPGs rise as you know for sure now how to answer the question, “Does cruise control use more gas?”
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