Select Page

Cruise controls are devices that allow a car to maintain a constant speed regardless of driving conditions. What that really means is when going up and down hills on the highway, the device keeps your speed the same. Cruise controls have been around for decades and they are very popular.

People enjoy having cruise controls  for two reasons. First, they are convenient.  When you put your car on cruise, you can relax a bit behind the wheel.  When driving long distances, anything that can reduce the workload is a welcome thing. Secondly, they allegedly save gas, in other words you get better gas mileage when you drive with you cruise control on. In fact, a few scattered studies performed by auto-related organizations indicate that using cruise control correctly could boost gas mileage between 7 percent and 14 percent.  The questions is: can we count on saving gas if we use our cruise controls?

According to David Cooke, an analyst for the Union of Concerned Scientists, “It’s possible but there’s just not a lot of real-world data available.” According to American Automotive Association, on the other hand, driving aggressively at highway speeds can decrease one’s gas mileage by up to 33 percent. So, we could logically surmise that popping the cruise control at highway speeds will eliminate aggressive, gas-wasting behaviors. In that light alone, cruise controls do indeed save gas.

The site explains that a new wrinkle on cruise controls helps also.  The new “Adaptive Cruise Controls” employ radar sensors that automatically adjust a car’s speed to maintain a safe distance from any vehicles up ahead. Adaptive cruise controls decelerate and accelerate more gradually than the average driver, which makes the engine run more efficiently. You don’t lose any of the advantages of cruise control by using adaptive cruise control.

You should know that relying on a cruise control isn’t always the most efficient way to drive. On flat terrain, it usually is because the vehicle’s engine spins along at a constant speed. When you climb a hill, however, while in cruise-control mode, your engine must rev up to provide enough power to maintain its set speed. If you really want to save gas, allow your vehicle to slow down when climbing hills.

And if you really, really want to save gas, there are plenty of other tricks. Making sure your tires are properly inflated is one.  Also, simply drive slower. If you drive at 60 mph instead of 70 mph your fuel efficiency will increase by an average of 17.2 percent. If you decrease from 75 to 55 mph, mileage increases 30.6 percent. No cruise control necessary.

Courtesy of: Kolosso Chrysler


Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet.