Does Adaptive Cruise Control Save Gas?New Technology Dec 11th, 2020
Cruise control is a great tool to have while driving. It allows the driver to set the speed and relax their foot off the gas pedal. Honda even offers Adaptive Cruise Control with Low Speed Follow in their Honda Sensing Suite that is now standard on Honda’s fleet. Adaptive Cruise Control senses changes in the speed of traffic and adjusts as needed. However, with all this technology packed into your vehicle, does it save you gas as well?
The quick answer is yes, cruise control saves you gas. A Natural Resources Canada study found that setting the cruise control at 80 kph versus cycling from 75 to 85 kph every 18 seconds consumes 20 percent less fuel. Allowing the vehicle’s computer to keep the speed is better than just using your foot to do so. As we are human, our ability to keep a constant speed for long periods of time is difficult. We can get distracted or accidentally let our foot relax on the pedal. However, with traditional Cruise Control, you must still pay attention to the speed of traffic as it can change very quickly. For most vehicles, applying the brakes will turn off Cruise Control and you’ll have to resume driving as normal or take the time to put it back on when the traffic resumes.
A representation of Honda's adaptive cruise control in action.
On the other hand, Adaptive Cruise Control will adapt the speed of the vehicle using sensors on the front of the vehicle to sense a change in traffic speed. According to a widespread 2012 study in Europe over the course of a year, they found that ACC significantly reduces fuel consumption while travel speeds, travel times, and total mileage effects were minimal.
So, if you’re driving along the highway and want to save gas and maybe save yourself a little extra effort, turn on your cruise control and let the vehicle do its thing. However, please always pay attention to the road as these systems are not a replacement for human driving.