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Does cruise control save gas?

2018 11 05 Blog Someone Pushing The Cruise Control Button On Steering Wheel

By Madeline Klein on November 20, 2018 in Life Hacks

Short answer: Yes! Don’t believe us? We’ve got the long answer here too.

How does cruise control work?

Cruise control keeps you moving at a steady speed, which uses less fuel than constantly accelerating and decelerating. That’s because each time you speed up or slow down, you have to think about your hefty car doing the same. Cars weigh thousands of pounds, so it takes a lot of gas to move them.

For our data-driven friends, Edmunds conducted a test to end the cruise control debate once and for all. They found that you’ll see a 7 percent savings on average, and can see up to a 14 percent savings when you use cruise control. (PS: Check out some other tips for saving gas.)

How to use cruise control

Cruise control works best on roads that don’t have a lot of changes in speed, like a highway. And if that highway is flat, that’s even better for your mileage.

You also want to make sure there’s not a ton of traffic on the road. More traffic means more starting and stopping, and when you’re using cruise control, it may take an extra second to turn it off. You definitely don't want to have a lag when you need to stop quickly.

When not to use cruise control

There are a few situations when using cruise control isn’t the best idea or the most fuel-efficient option.

1. Slippery roads: Using cruise control in rainy or wet conditions isn’t safe for you and those around you. The car can skid and slip easily in slick conditions, and the driver may have more trouble hitting the brake and stopping safely.

2. Cruise control on hills: When you’re in an area with a lot of hills, it may be more fuel efficient for you to turn off cruise and take control. If you maintain a steady speed on a hill, you’d actually be guzzling gas instead of using it efficiently. In those situations, a driver can accelerate and decelerate better than cruise control. It can also help keep you safer and keep any hills from sneaking up on you.

Cruise control and speeding

An added bonus of using cruise control is that you don’t accidentally go too fast. For all my Leadfoot Lucy’s out there, it can be too easy to be jamming out to your favorite tune and not realize that you’re going 15 over the speed limit. Cruise control can help keep your speed under control and your lead foot in line. And that’s a huge benefit because speeding tickets can affect your car insurance rate.

Safety first

Because cruise control requires a bit less attention, drivers should always be extra careful with it. Cruise isn’t a free pass to zone out. Safe driving should be the number one priority, and we say that because we care!

Madeline Klein is Say's Digital Content Producer. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Journalism, emphasis in Strategic Communication. Her experience is in writing and digital media. Madeline loves using her creativity to write and design new and exciting pieces of work for Say!