If you’re wondering “does cruise control help save gas?” the answer is yes, it does. The real reason that cruise saves fuel is that it helps you maintain a steady speed. Without cruise control, the average driver accelerates and decelerates frequently, resulting in more gas usage. Using cruise control makes it possible to maximize your car’s fuel efficiency.

How Cruise Control Works

Cruise control is very popular in North America, mainly due to the long stretches of roads. The cruise control system functions similar to how a person would accelerate behind the wheel. Instead of pressing the pedal, a cruise control system adjusts the throttle through a cable that is connected to the actuator. The actuator uses the engine vacuum as an energy source to set the throttle at the desired speed. Before turning on cruise control, you need to accelerate to a comfortable speed and then tap the “coast” button to turn on the cruise control. Every driver can override the cruise control by pressing on the breaks. If you want to turn on cruise control, it’s best to wait until you reach 30 mph.

How Much Gas You Can Save

Does cruise control save fuel? Yes, but the question is, how much? The exact amount is very dependent on your car make and driving style. When you maintain a constant speed, your engine is working at maximum efficiency.  To illustrate, take a look at the below table that’s backed by the U.S. Department of Energy:

MPG Speed Calculator (22 MPG fuel efficiency, 30 miles driven per day)

Speed Travel time Effective MPG
55 mph 33 min. 22.0
60 mph 30 min. 21.3
65 mph 28 min. 20.2
70 mph 26 min. 18.3
75 mph 24 min. 16.9
80 mph 23 min. 15.8

As you can see, maintaining a constant speed of 55 mph gives you maximum fuel efficiency. If you spend half of your 30-minute commute driving 60 mph and the other half driving 55 mph, your MPG would drop from 22 to 21.65. So, does cruise control save you gas mileage as well? Yes, in theory when you save gas, you’re also saving gas mileage. Now, how much money would you lose in this situation? First, let’s imagine that you drive 60 miles each day (round trip) and use cruise control at 55 mph. Each day you would use 2.73 gallons of gas. If you spend half the time at 55mph and the other half at 60 mph, you would use 2.77 gallons of gas each day. Granted that you the cost is around is around $2.60 per gallon, you could save around $40 per year on gas by using cruise control. Is it a lot of money? No. But remember, if you shift your speed more frequently than other drivers, you could end up saving more.

Cruise Control Save Gas – and More!

Now that we have answered “does cruise control save gas?” I want to touch on some of the other benefits of using cruise control.

  • Convenience: cruise control makes taking a road trip a lot more relaxing. You don’t even have to put your foot on the gas pedal. It also improves comfort and keeps you from getting tired while driving long distances.
  • Reduces Tendency to Speed: we all speed every once in a while, it’s a bad habit that’s sometimes hard to resist. Turning your cruise control on will help fight off the temptations to speed. Just sent it at the speed limit and enjoy the ride.

So, whether you’re on a road trip across the United States or just commuting to work, cruise control can help make the ride more enjoyable and save you money. Are the savings significant? No, but it’s better than nothing, right?

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