Save money on petrol and diesel by changing how you use cruise control – hack

Save money on petrol and diesel by changing how you use cruise control – hack

03/17/2022

BBC Breakfast compare petrol and diesel prices

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The rocketing cost of fuel continued in the UK this week as prices for petrol and diesel hit a record high of £1.65 and £1.76 a litre respectively. Some forecourts showed prices as high as £2 per litre despite the cost of oil dropping globally.

There are several ways to cut down on fuel spend and save money, but one that many drivers aren’t aware of is to turn off cruise control.

That’s because while the feature helps to save fuel on motorways by maintaining a constant speed and reducing the work of the engine, on roads that aren’t flat it has the opposite effect.

Cruise control will actually increase the fuel used because it’s slower to react to changes in gradient, meaning it will accelerate for longer than a driver would when going up a hill.

And often cars set to cruise control will automatically accelerate faster than a human, again increasing fuel consumption.

Many modern cars also feature more advanced versions of cruise control, usually known as ‘adaptive cruise control’ (ACC).

Adaptive cruise control (ACC) is an intelligent form of cruise control that allows vehicles to speed up and slow down automatically in order to keep pace with the traffic ahead.

Although the feature is useful on motorways because it eradicates the need for drivers to step in and brake, then reset the cruise speed, again on certain roads it will increase the amount of fuel used.

According to car manufacturer Kia, “Cruise control is only fuel-efficient when used on flat road conditions that are free from traffic congestion or on even uphill or downhill drives.”

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It added: “However, if you are driving on hill conditions that change perpetually or sharp inclines, it is recommended to deactivate the cruise control function.

“Supposedly, high-quality cruise control systems should be able to handle sudden hills, but bear in mind the outcome differs vehicle by vehicle.

“Ultimately, the biggest advantage of using cruise control is its ability to lessen the feeling of fatigue of the driver during long-distance driving, while maintaining fuel-efficiency by eliminating unnecessary acceleration and deceleration.”

In general however, the more advanced ‘smart’ versions of cruise control have a positive effect on fuel consumption, improving economy by between five and seven percent.

The downside is that a study by the US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) showed that drivers are more likely to speed when using ACC.

Higher speed increases the load on the engine, which increases fuel consumption.

The study found that if the driver in question only uses ACC, they are 18 percent more likely to speed than if they were driving manually.

That figure went up to 19 percent when using another new technology feature, lane-keep assist.

The feature will alert a driver that they are veering outside of a lane, usually by beeping and vibrating the steering wheel.

The study led to the IIHS believing that the increased speeding actually counteracted the safety benefits that driver-assistance systems would otherwise offer.

Meanwhile, other methods currently being used to save fuel by drivers include removing roof racks, turning off air conditioning and keeping tyres inflated.

Buying petrol at supermarkets is also recommended as they tend to offer the cheapest petrol and diesel.

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