The burning question – let’s get straight to it. YES – cruise control does use more fuel… under normal road conditions.
Why? If you’re using cruise control on normal roads then the simple reason is that cruise control is less adaptable to the minor changes that come with everyday driving.
Think of when you reach the brow of a hill or see traffic up ahead – you can react to what’s happening ahead of you quicker than the car. Cruise control will not read the road the way you can, meaning it will be asking more of your engine than it might need – using more fuel in the process.
Does cruise control save fuel on the motorway?
If you’re going to be driving on longer, flatter stretches of road (like the motorway) then yes, cruise control could be a fuel-friendly way of driving.
Switching cruise control on means your engine will no longer be at the whim of your right foot – the inevitable varied pace, going slower then faster, is levelled out. Fuel efficiency is driven by smooth driving so maintaining a consistent speed avoids unnecessary acceleration and braking which all burns more fuel. Even varying between 65mph and 75mph could mean a difference of up to 5mpg.
The future of cruise control
A lot of the answers you can find online as to whether or not cruise control uses more fuel are pretty old. Some of the most popular answers out there are from as far back as 2008!
Everything about cars has evolved since then and alongside safety standards and emission reductions, better cruise control systems have also been developed.
Studies, such as this one from Science Direct, are showing that features such as eco-cruise control are making CC systems all the more fuel efficient, delivering 8-16% savings in fuel.
Cars are becoming increasingly attuned to reading the road and can adapt engine output accordingly. Although this still means it’s unlikely that cruise control is going to save fuel on regular roads, it will mean that when you take your car on the motorway you will be able to go further for less.
Does cruise control use more fuel than your driving?
All of this assumes that you’re a more efficient driver than your cruise control system when you get behind the wheel. If you or your partner is a little too heavy on the brakes or accelerator then now might be the time to learn more about what we do at Lightfoot.