It’s a relatively new feature in the local market, but the introduction of cruise control is a welcome development as far as new cars are concerned. New drivers would do well to learn about this feature and its contribution to better driving, especially when going on trips out of town.
Cruise control is your friend on long drives
What is it for? Cruise control allows you to maintain the vehicle’s speed without having to keep stepping or modulating pressure on the gas pedal. The way this works is that when engaged, a servomechanism takes over your foot in controlling the vehicle’s throttle, ensuring that it does not leave the speed that you set (usually at a minimum of 40 kilometers per hour).
Some of the benefits that cruise control brings are improved comfort and reduced driver fatigue on long drives, along with helping motorists avoid violating speed limits on highways. But since it continuously keeps the throttle engaged, does cruise control negatively affect the vehicle’s fuel efficiency?
Not having to step constantly on the gas pedal is good for your car's fuel consumption
Not exactly, at least when conditions are right. Because cruise control provides consistent throttle input, it removes the need for you to constantly press and release the gas pedal which would otherwise increase fuel consumption due to a sore foot or inattentiveness. This is especially useful on long stretches of flat roads with little to no traffic, helping motorists to better focus on the road ahead while using up less fuel.
But there is a significant caveat to using cruise control. If the feature is engaged when driving on hilly or uneven terrain, the mechanism will increase throttle input just to keep up with the speed that you set. In that case, the vehicle has no choice but to use up more fuel, negating the savings you might have gained on flat roads.
On inclined roads, cruise control consumes more fuel as it struggles to keep up with your set speed
And if you use cruise control in adverse weather conditions such as rain, saving money on fuel pales in comparison to expenses you can potentially rack up when your car gets into an accident.
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Joseph Paolo Estabillo