TCM reader, Donald Pryor, asked us to ask you about cruise control. We did, and over 150 readers wrote in with their truck camping cruise control experiences.
Having read all of the responses, a few patterns emerge. First, most of us put cruise control between 60 and 65 miles per hour. Second, we use cruise control to rest our fuel foot, get better fuel mileage, and avoid speeding tickets.
Third, we don’t use cruise control in the hills, mountains, traffic, inclement weather, or really anything but straight and dry interstates. And finally, no one thought cruise control made driving a truck camper less safe, unless you’re not paying attention.
This week’s Question of the Week was, “Do you use cruise control while driving your truck camper rig?”
“Yes, but only on dry pavement. I set the speed at 65.” – Tom Berry, 2016 Ford F350, Automatic, 2007 Lance 981 Max
“I use cruise control when I’m in relatively flat country. If there are a lot of hills I will take control to manage speeds up and down the hills.” – John Ballenger, 2015 F350, Automatic, 2014 Arctic Fox 990
“Yes, I do use cruise control. It does seem to help a little on the gas mileage. I found if I keep it around 60 to 65, it’s the sweet spot. I have squeezed 14 miles per gallon out of it. As far as safety concerns, keep your eyes on the road and watch what’s going on.” – Jeff Hagberg, 2002 F250, Automatic, 2006 Travel Lite 800SBX
“I have experimented with cruise control on long highway sections. Due to safety and control concerns, I have not used cruise control on state highways or secondary roads. On long, fairly level sections of interstate highway I have seen as much as a one to two miles per gallon improvement over manual control. However, I have seen fuel economy decrease using cruise control on long uphill grades, being able to control the power and turbo boost more efficiently with manual throttle inputs. Given the types of roadways I typically encounter in Idaho, I rarely if ever use cruise control.” – John Terescik, 2015 Ram 3500, Automatic, 2015 Arctic Fox 1140
“I only use cruise control while in states that are flat, like Florida, where it’s easy for the truck to maintain my speed without downshifting. I find using it where there are any appreciable hills causes the cruise control to maintain a perfect speed and it constantly downshifts on hills. Like big rig truckers, to maximize fuel economy, we should average out the hills by speeding up going downhill and naturally slow down when going up inclines.
While on cruise control I normally keep my speed around 62 miles per hour which is around 1800-2000 RPM – a sweet spot on my hp/torque curve of engine performance. I actually believe that keeping it off cruise control in hilly areas and averaging out the hills maximizes my fuel economy.” – Charles Coushaine, 2001 Ford F350, Automatic, 2012 Chalet DS116RB
“We use cruise on interstates and other really good roads. Cruise lets you move around a bit in the seat. I set it at 65 or below. It depends on the speed limit. I never noticed any mileage improvement. Never use cruise control in the rain.” – Bob Presto, 2008 Silverado 3500, Automatic, 2008 Lance 1191
“Yes. I usually set the cruise control at the speed limit except on interstate highways. There, I set it at 65 miles per hour or the speed limit to prevent speeding.” – Carl Mutschler, 2005 Dodge 3500, Manual, 2005 Lance 1181 Max
“I use my cruise whenever traffic allows. When the speed limit is 65, I set it at 62. When the limit is 70, I set at 65. I prefer 62 because I get better mileage, but 62 in a 70 mile per hour zone, in my opinion, is too dangerous. I have seen too many drivers not paying attention and almost rear ending me.” – Rick Shofner, 2001 Ford F350, Automatic, 2012 Lance 1181
“I set it at 60 and just on highways. Miles per gallon varies more on terrain than with cruise control.” – Carlos Armas, 2013 Ford F450, Automatic, 2013 Arctic Fox 990
“I always use cruise. It is the way I drive. Cruise doesn’t affect mileage, but speed does dramatically. I usually set it at 65. If I go 70, it drops the mileage by 10%, and 75 is even worse.” – Larry Leach, 2008 Ram 2500, Automatic, Arctic Fox 810
“Cruise control is used, and it improves mileage just like when the truck is empty or pulling a trailer. I set it from 60 to 80 miles per hour, depending on my needs. 62 to 70 miles per hour is the most common. At 62 to 65 I can see 14.5 miles per gallon with no wind. I find that to be outstanding for a 12,000 pound rig on a 4×4 crew cab dually.
Cruise should never be used in heavy traffic or on slick surfaces such as in rain, snow, sleet or in areas where patches of ice may be found. Other than that, if you pay attention and have an extra half second following distance to allow time to get your foot to the pedals, I see no loss of safety.
If you have an automatic truck that insists on downshifting on hills or in gusty winds, you may get better fuel mileage off cruise. If you are in a zen state with your truck, you can sense when it is about to downshift and let off the throttle some to avoid that. That’s a lot of work and slows your average speed down some as you have to accept some loss in speed to avoid the downshift, high rpm, and extra fuel use. This is why I like having a clutch pedal, among about 400 other reasons.” – FE J, 2002 Ford F350, Manual, 1988 Bigfoot C-11.5
“As soon as the road conditions are good, the cruise is on. I set it at 60 miles per hour. Towing a 16-foot enclosed trailer with my BMW Z3 behind the camper, that’s fast enough. I get in between 10 to 14 miles per gallon, depending on the wind conditions.” – Richard C Raymond, Chevy Silverado 3500, Automatic, 2005 Palomino Winter Creek 11.5RS
“I run with the cruise control set at 70 miles per hour. Depending on the road terrain, I get 12 miles per gallon on flat highway, and 10 miles per gallon on the hills/mountains. I won’t use cruise in heavy rain.” – Keith Lincoln, 2012 GMC 3500, Automatic, 2014 Host Mammoth
“I just completed a 2500 mile road trip from West Virginia through the northern mid-west as far as eastern South Dakota. I stayed on mostly back roads on the way out, so cruise was limited to some of the straighter stretches of two lane or the few four lane state roads. Lower speeds meant around 13 miles per gallon.
I was on super slab all the way back from South Dakota, so it was cruise control the whole way. We never ran more than 65 miles per hour, and we averaged 12.5 miles per gallon. Midwest roads are way flatter than here in West Virginia, but this trip had some unusually strong headwinds blowing from the north and west.
Using cruise on the super slab keeps my foot from mashing on the right pedal and creeping up in speed. We seldom drive after dark, but I never use cruise at night on any vehicle. Too many darting animals about, at least here in West Virginia.” – Chuck Webb, 2012 Ford F350, Automatic, 2015 Alaskan 8.5 C/O
“When on the open road, cruise control is almost always used. I love it. I generally keep it at 66 and have not tracked mileage. There is no safety concern, unless I am napping.” – Bob Nelson, 2015 GMC 3500, Automatic, 2013 Arctic Fox 1140
“Yes, we use cruise control that’s set at about 65, depending on the road conditions and the speed limit. Our truck is a diesel and the transmission is a 6-speed. Fifth and sixth gears are very close to the same ratio, so mileage doesn’t suffer much on cruise control.” – William Mike Chiles, 2015 Ram 3500, Automatic, 2013 Lance 1050s
“I use cruise control primarily when driving on highways and open roads. I choose it to reduce fatigue and I truly believe it optimizes fuel efficiency. I do not use cruise control in dense traffic or when road conditions are possibly slippery. That’s when you truly need to be fully focused and at the top of your game!” – John Wells, 2011 Chevy 3500, 6-speed Automatic, 2012 Chalet Ascent S100F
“Yes, I use cruise control. With the 6-speed transmission, the truck handles hills very well. We are averaging between 9.5 to 10 miles per gallon at 60 miles per hour. I am not sure if the cruise control increases miles per gallon, but it is easier to drive long distances. I have no safety concerns because, if it is windy or raining, I don’t use cruise.” – George Visconti, 2015 GMC 3500HD, Automatic, 2016 Arctic Fox 990
“Yes, I usually cruise around 65 miles per hour on highway. I don’t really know if it helps mileage as we don’t stay on the highways too long. We like back roads. I usually average around 10 or 11 miles per gallon with the camper. If windy or wet, I don’t use cruise control.” – Rich McGuire, 2006 Ram 3500, Automatic, 2008 Bigfoot 3000
“It depends on type of road (interstate versus two lanes) and the weather conditions (wet versus dry, windy versus no wind). I do use the cruise control. I set the speed between 65 and 68 miles per hour. This does improve the fuel economy.” – Terry Berg, 2013 GMC 3500, Automatic, 2013 Arctic Fox 992
“We generally use the cruise only on the highway and in low traffic situations. It comes off as soon as it gets crowded, not taking any chances with traffic swings. The cruise is set to whatever speed the limit and RPMs dictate. If the limit is 60 miles per hour and the engine/transmission are not working at optimal values (lower gear, fifth and higher RPMs, 2300 for example), I would increase the speed to 63, which tends to drop the revs to 1800 and the transmission into sixth for better fuel economy.” – John Desjardins, 2007.5 GMC 2500HD, Automatic, 2002 Globetrotter
“Yes, always. The Duramax diesel with the 6-speed automatic transmission never has to work. We have a performance module, with variable fuel settings for types of driving. Utilizing cruise control (allowing the transmission to determine shift points), the module to driving conditions, and watching the exhaust temperature, gains about a 1.5 to 3 mile per gallon increase over not using the cruise control. It is too easy to force torque variances with a nervous accelerator foot, causing erratic shift points and turbo boost, both of which compromise fuel efficiency.” – Marv Krueger, 2004 Chevrolet K3500, Automatic, 2005 Arctic Fox B1150
“Whether I use cruise control depends on the type road. We prefer the small two-lane roads and do not use cruise control on those. When traveling on larger divided highways and Interstates, I set the cruise at about 65 miles per hour. It does improve mileage, but I suspect it is due to lower speed rather than the precise consistency. It also makes a long ride cross-country more comfortable for the right leg and foot. I do not use cruise control in heavy traffic or very curvy roads or in rain. The immediate reaction of removing foot from accelerator is delayed slightly when on cruise and you need to slow.” – Randall Rice, 2012 GMC Sierra 3500HD, Automatic, 2015 Bigfoot 2500 10.4
“Yes, I use cruise control most of the time. In my experience, it reduces driver fatigue. I typically drive at 65 miles per hour unless I am holding up traffic on a two lane, and then I’ll drive the speed limit. I find that I can actually get better gas mileage without the cruise control. It tries to hold the speed to close downshifting to maintain the speed up hills, and down hills to slow itself down to the speed setting. Without it, I will slow down a little more on the uphill and allow it to speed up on the downhill. I believe using cruise control is safe because by using it I can be more alert to scan around checking the rear view mirrors, rather than thinking constantly about the speed.” – Philip Bolding, 2012 Ford F350, Automatic, 2016 Northern Lite 8’11” Q SE
“While we don’t use cruise control while truck camping, we do use cruise control while driving to go truck camping. The cruise is set at 63 miles per hour max on open highway. On lesser roads we have it set at 59 miles per hour, which seems to yield the best miles per gallon for our rig. The DuraMax/Allison is a pleasure to drive; just set it and forget it, and no downshifting on inclines. It just cruises along. On long declines, the Allison will also compensate to maintain speed. It is an amazing power train.” – Bill Tex, 2006 Chevy 3500, Automatic, 2013 Eagle Cap
“I always have the cruise on when on good blacktop roads or interstates. It’s more a common sense thing on other roads. With my old pop-up pickup camper, a 2002 Starcraft Lonestar and previous truck, a 2011 Chevy 1500, I set the cruise at 65 miles per hour on the interstate, and 60 miles per hour on two lane highways. With that set up, I got 13.5 miles per gallon on a 4,500 mile trip.
With the heavier, more wind resistant Lance, I cut back to 60 miles per hour. I’m on vacation, so what’s the hurry? I ended up with 12.4 miles per gallon for basically the same 4,500 mile trip.
I have very bad memories of wedging my foot just so and trying to keep a certain speed with trucks without cruise. On long trips it could get downright painful.
If I had to give up all the bells and whistles the new trucks come with, I could survive as long as they left the cruise and air conditioning alone. Those two items make long road trips relaxing and comfortable. All that other stuff (way too much anymore) are just expensive little add-ons.
I do think with cruise that rolling hilly terrain hurts mileage. The old, go fast down hill to get a run at the next one is better for miles per gallon. But, I’ll give up a little mileage for relaxation.” – Terry Gfeller, Ram 2500, Automatic, 2013 Lance 865
“I am a fairly new subscriber to Truck Camper Magazine, and really enjoy it! I use cruise control to keep an even speed and ease the strain on my right leg on long drives. I have no safety concerns about it. A tap of the brake or button will disengage it. The truck loses about .25 miles per gallon when using the cruise control. I think that is because it lays into the throttle harder than I do on the uphill grades.
I usually set the speed to 5 to 10 over the legal limit to avoid becoming an unsafe rolling road block. There is an exception on the interstates because I don’t like to exceed 73 to 74 miles per hour, and traffic can easily get around me. 11 to 12 miles per gallon is normal, and speeds from 50 to 65 don’t affect it. At 65+, it may drop to 10.9 miles per gallon.” – Joel Nystrom, 1993 Ram 3500, Automatic, 2006 Arctic Fox 1150
“We have a 8-foot truck camper and a 30-foot 5th wheel. We also have a large 6.2L V-8 gas engine, which fits our lifestyle. I have used cruise control on long flat roads with little head winds with no problems. As soon as there is a head wind or I go up hills, I’d rather know or control what is happening to the shifting. That usually means that I back off on the gas pedal and turn off the cruise. I do not believe cruise helps my gas millage, but I have not proved it.
We recently purchased a 2016 Honda Civic with Sensing. The automatic lane keeping, car in front of you speed sensing, crash protection is wonderful. I’m not worn out at the end of a long drive. I’m hoping our truck manufacturers will soon incorporate all these functions into new trucks. That would make me upgrade my truck right away.” – Thomas Bender, 2011 Ford F250, Automatic, 2009 Sun Valley Apache Chief 8.65 WS
“I always use cruise control every chance I get. I use it even in town when appropriate. I’m basically lazy. The exceptions are when weather conditions are inappropriate (heavy rain, snow packed), or in construction zones with dense traffic. I don’t know if it improves fuel economy, but most studies I’ve seen suggest that it does. I use it mostly because it allows me to be flexible in my sitting position at all times which in turn allows me to drive with less fatigue. Cruise control is a must have on every vehicle that I own.” – Robert Hicks, 2010 Chevrolet 2500HD, Automatic, 2011 Lance 992
“We use cruise control all the time. We set it on 62. There is a big difference in miles per gallon if we try to set on 65; as much as two miles per gallon. Also, it feels a lot safer going slower.” – Janet and Jim Kaley, 2015 GMC 3500, Automatic, 2015 Arctic Fox 992
“Yes! I use it for several reasons. First, I have found that it improves my mileage by 2 to 3 miles per gallon. I set it for the speed limit; it keeps me out of trouble. It helps keep us more consistent with the flow of traffic. I also find that it relieves stress and allows me to keep better tabs on the load and handling of the truck with the camper on board. On the Fords it works hand in hand with the exhaust brake and transmission to keep speeds where they need to be.” – Stan Smelser, 2013 Ford F350, Automatic, 2014 Lance 992
“Driving in the northeast and Canada makes cruise control a limited option. When there is an opportunity on flatter roads it seems that 68 to 70 miles per hour is the sweet spot for my setup. That puts the least pressure on the engine and also keeps the RPMs high enough to allow the turbo to spool up quick enough to take on moderate hills without forcing a downshift. There are many environmental and road condition factors involved when choosing the speed, but for best performance at a safe speed, it just happens to be 69 miles per hour.” – Shawn Whalen, 2006 F-250, Automatic, 2007 Arctic Fox 811
“I use cruise.” – Telford Cruikshank, 2011 Chevy, Automatic, 2015 CampLite
“I like to use cruise when I’m on fairly level open roads. It is a far more relaxing drive with cruise on. I normally run 62 to 65 miles per hour with or without cruise. Miles per gallon doesn’t seem to vary that much with or without cruise. Miles per gallon is in the 13 to 14 range. I have found that a drop to 58 to 60 miles per hour adds one mile per gallon to my range, but tends to irritate other drivers, so I only do this when traffic is very light. I believe cruise makes me a safer driver. I have more opportunity to focus on my gauges, mirrors, and traffic.” – Thomas Wilson, 2015 Chevy 3500, Automatic, 2015 Adventurer 89RB
“Yes, I do while on the Interstate. I travel back and forth from North Dakota to New Jersey 2 to 3 times a year taking 6 to 8 days, and use it pretty much all the time on these trips. Most of the time I will start with the cruise at 62. Going slower definitely helps my mileage. Because I like to make 1 or 2 stops along the way to museums, local attractions, or whatever, I might set the speed higher later in the day. I do not have any safety concerns whatsoever about using the cruise control.” – Phillip M Cohen, 2015 Ram 3500, Automatic, Northstar 950SC
“I use cruise control as often as possible and I prefer to travel at 55 miles per hour. I will boost the speed to 65 on interstate multi-lane travel only if I am holding back any traffic. The 6.7 liter diesel has no problem holding speed control selected speeds up hill or downhill roads. Taking it slower does improve miles per gallon, especially in windy driving conditions. Slow down and enjoy the drive and the scenery. Arrive more relaxed!” – Gary Gadwa, 2012 Ford F350, Automatic, 2011 Eagle Cap 950
“Yes, I do use cruise with the truck camper. It works well for me at 62 miles per hour. Does it improve mileage? I don’t know. There are no safety concerns.” – James Burns, 2005 GMC 2500HD, Automatic, 2008 Eagle Cap 850
“I always use cruise control when the road and traffic allow for it. I wouldn’t do it if it didn’t work for me, now would I? I tend to go about 65 miles per hour, because that is about the safe minimum, if traffic is flowing. I usually have boats on top, so I notice a decline in mileage at faster speeds.
I think keeping a constant speed and paying attention to all the other drivers is important, and cruise control facilitates that for me in many driving conditions. I tend to keep my thumb over the cancel button on the steering wheel, so I don’t flash brake lights if I need a minor speed reduction. Most cars can’t see past a camper and I might trigger an over-reaction if I was on the brakes a lot.
I also tend to use my turn signals. I know what the three-second rule is and try not to violate it, so those practices also help with safe use of cruise control. It just allows you more time looking at other drivers instead of the speedometer.” – David Schmitt, 2007 Ford F350, Automatic, 2014 Four Wheel Camper Grandby
“I use cruise control while on long gently rolling or flat roads, and never in the mountains (we live in Colorado). It depends on the speed limit as to what I set the cruise on, but have not gone above 75. When the winds are howling at us, I don’t use cruise. I would like to think the cruise helps with gas mileage, but using the cruise is to take some of the stress and work off of driving.” – Pam Conner, 2015 Ford F350, Automatic, 2015 Arctic Fox 1150
“We do use our cruise on interstate driving and find that our mileage stays consistent on the high side. We usually run about 70 miles per hour on the interstate, and have little concerns about any safety issue doing so. The flip side of that is on two lane and back roads we never use cruise. Our speed is much lower and safety is a larger concern. There are pot holes, dips, unknown hard curves, and frost heaves. No one likes to be airborne with their truck and camper. Travel safe and often.” – Tom Elliott, 2007 Ram 2500, 6-speed manual, 1999 Lance 835 Lite
“Yes, and even more so now than with the Tundra. With the Tundra, it would downshift and go to high throttle at the slightest hill without a camper. With the Duramax, we set the speed for an engine RPM of 2000 and relax and enjoy the ride. We do use the tow/haul mode for better shifting and downhill brake assist with the Allison.” – Michael Nervik, 2002 Silverado 3500, Automatic, Eagle Cap 1150
“On long trips I also use the cruise control and set it at 62 miles per hour based on the GPS reading. When I am in a lot of up and down, mountains, or rain, I do not use cruise control.” – Ed Krech, 2006 Dodge 3500, Automatic, 2012 Northern Lite 8-11
“We use cruise control when going down the interstate. When we get into traffic, drive on steep hills or curvy roads, off comes the cruise control. For traffic, you need to be ready for the next idiot. For steep hills, you need to know what and how the engine is performing, and curvy roads should be self explanatory.
For the fuel mileage question, it’s debatable. In cruise you don’t get feedback on how the engine is performing. When it’s off cruise, the driver may not accelerate for the slight rise in the road and let it drift down a mile or two and catch up on the down side of the rise. Whereas the cruise control will do everything to keep speed, and may waist fuel unnecessarily.
For our daily driver, a VW TDI (pre-scam), it’s an automatic (DSG). On the flat and interstate we use cruise control. Give us a mountain and curves, and the cruise control comes off and we use the DSG! Though not quite as fun as the GTI! Happy Camping!” – Loren Jones, 2013 Ram 3500, Manual, 2013 Lance 850
“When I am on relatively flat grade, such as heading toward the ocean, I use cruise control when the road is dry and the traffic is not heavy. I set it at 60 or 65 miles per hour and it works fine. However, most of the time using cruise control on normal terrain, my truck will drop to fifth gear. Then, it will drop to fourth gear on gradual inclines when otherwise I would drop my speed about five miles per hour and never leave sixth gear. So I probably use cruise control only about 10% of the time.” – Fred Patterson, 2013 F350, Automatic, 2002 Lance 1161
“I always use cruise when I can. When there is traffic I have my thumb on the cruise buttons to quickly change the speed or to cancel the cruise control. I really haven’t compared mileage with cruise on and then off, but when you’re getting, at best, 12 miles per gallon, how much can it matter? I’m either towing a boat or a Jeep and haven’t found safety to be an issue.” – Mark Kuskie, 2013 Ram 3500, Automatic, 2002 S&S Avalanche
“I use cruise control while on the interstates in Wyoming. With a population of only about 500,000 for the entire state, we don’t have many vehicles on the road.
I usually set my speed at 65 miles per hour and on occasion will push it to 70 miles per hour. Those are on calm days only. We have long, empty stretches of highway here.
I haven’t seen any difference in fuel mileage. I get a solid 12 miles per gallon with or without cruise, except for climbing through mountains of course.” – Bob Watts, 2011 Ram 2500, Automatic, 2000 Fleetwood Angler 8
“My last truck, a gas, not diesel was slightly under powered when hauling our camper. So, speeding up slightly before hills helped us maintain highway speeds. It also helped with fuel use. Our new truck is a beast. Cruise control works well no matter the topography. However, I use it when on the flat and become a more active driver when in the mountains to take over the throttle control. I’m not seeing much difference in mileage when I use it. It’s a nice option when you are on a long haul.” – Wes Hargreaves, 2016 Ford F450, Automatic, 2006 Snowbird 108DS
“Yes, I use cruise control whenever it is safe to do so. I always set it for the speed limit of the highway. If the posted speed limit is 65, I set it 65. If the speed limit 70, I set it there, and so on. I don’t like to pull out, and pass.
I find that using this system keeps me covering ground at a pretty good clip, and all those who are in a hurry just go around leaving me alone in the travel lane. As for saving fuel, I have no idea. My average fuel flow is 12.2 miles per gallon, and has been that way for years. I use cruise control strictly as a convenience.” – Ray Steinmeyer, 2007 GMC 3500, Automatic, 2007 Host Yellowstone
“Yes, I use it on four lane highways and on flatter two lane rural roads. It keeps a more constant speed and I don’t have to constantly look at the speedometer. When the conditions allow I set the cruise control between 55 and 65. I don’t see a miles per gallon change using it.” – John and Cathy Strasser, 2012 Chevy 2500HD, Automatic, 2013 Eagle Cap 850
“I use cruise control on I-5, and set mine at 62 miles per hour. It runs great down the road. The diesel jumps to about 17 miles per gallon from town driving at 14.” – Bruce Erickson, 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 4×4, Automatic, 2016 Adventurer 86 FB
“I have used it very little. The truck does better not using it. It seems to be less on fuel economy when the cruise is used due to the transmission shifting more.” – Roger Jennings, 2015 Ram 3500, Automatic, 2015 Lance 1052
“I always use cruise control, so I can’t say whether it improves mileage or not. I run 55 if that is the limit, 60 to 65 if 65 is the limit, and 65 if 75 is the limit. I have no safety concerns about using cruise control.” – Tom Andersen, 2006 Ram 3500, Automatic, 2003 Lance 1121
“Yes, we use cruise control anytime it’s feasible. Since we tow a Chevy Tracker, usually he sets it at 65 miles per hour. If not, towing would be dictated by the speed limit, but not usually over 70.” – Hazel Green, 2015 F350, Automatic, 2008 Northern Lite 10.2
“Yes, I use it when the highway doesn’t have too many hills or curves. I drive the speed limit, but not more than 55 miles per hour. Otherwise, the gas mileage starts to go down. My normal miles per gallon is 13 with the camper on the truck.” – Roger Couturier, 2012 Ford F250, Automatic, 2001 Lance 1030
“Any time we are on a long flat road (interstate) we set the cruise control at the legal speed limit or at 62 miles per hour max. I don’t know if we save any fuel but, it keeps me from speeding. Both trucks run the quietest between 55 and 62.” – Bill Gage, 2003 Ram 2500 and 2015 Ram 3500, the 2003 is a Manual and the 2015 is an Automatic, 2008 Northstar TC 650, 2017 Wolf Creek 840 on order
“I can get 12.5 miles per gallon at 70 miles per hour on cruise control. At 64 miles per hour, I get almost 15 miles a gallon. I use cruise control when I can. It is fairer to those following you, since you are keeping a steady speed. Rarely am I in the passing lane, but my truck, when necessary, will get out and pass.” – Mark Turnbull, 2013 Chevy 3500HD, Automatic, 2011 Four Wheel Camper Hawk
“If it’s pretty flat with not much traffic, I will use cruise control. If it’s real hilly I don’t because it wants to mash”the throttle down at the base of the hill to maintain the speed. So I believe it actually hurts my miles per gallon because I’m pretty steady with the foot throttle. When I do use it, I set it at 60 miles per hour. With my heavy loads I figure that’s fast enough, besides with my 4.10-1.0 axle ratios, I’m turning pretty good. Thanks for the magazine!” – Scott Barker, 1999 Dodge 3500, Manual, 2015 Lance 1050S
“On the highway out of town, I’m always on cruise and I adjust my speed up or down on the steering wheel. By far, I have more miles on cruise control then the gas pedal. I don’t know if my gas mileage is better or not, I assume it is better. I don’t think there is any safety concerns.” – Corbin Sakdol, 2014 Ram 3500, Automatic, 2015 Lance 1172
“Yes. It gives my foot the often needed break. I’m not sure about saving gas because so often I hit a little hill and she drops to a lower gear and RPMs shoot up then I hit the off button and the whole process starts over. I don’t see any safety issue I stay right at 60 miles per hour.” – Bill Cox, 2009 Silverado 3500, Automatic, 2009 Lance 1040
“Yes, all the time. It depends on the posted speed limit. If it’s posted 65, I’ll set at 63. If it’s posted at 75, I’ll set at 68 or so. Sometimes I set it to 72; depending on how bored I am and wanting to get to the next stop. It doesn’t really seem to really affect the fuel mileage that I note – maybe one mile per gallon more for slower speed. While it can add up, it’s minimal. One thing I did note was that regardless of how fast you set it, on Nevada’s Extraterrestrial Highway SR 375, it’s still some 12 hours to do that route and it’s all kinda fuzzy (just joking).” – Frank Poole, 2016 Ram 5500HD, Automatic, 2016 Arctic Fox 990
“Yes, we have cruise. It’s great, but not all the time. In the West there are a lot of small grades that it will shift down and its not really needed. It tries to keep that set speed and will shift several times. You don’t need to be going 65 over that hill. On the small hills you can speed up going down and ease up on gas peddle so it doesn’t down shift which should give you better mileage.
It’s always interesting when going long distances you will have a big rig way behind and see him slowly gain on you or you will gain on another truck. The cruise is so accurate that you know were both using it but it’s set so close to yours. There is no way to tell if it saves fuel but sure would seem to. My truck calculates mileage on the last 500 miles so your going a great distance before it changes. Yes, I love it.” – Frank Niehus, 2007 Ford F350, Automatic, 2007 Arctic Fox 1150
“My kids say I’m a control freak because I never use cruise control. Someone once told me 53 miles per hour was the best speed for my rig. Amazingly, it is. The difference between 53 and 60 is dramatically less gas consumption.” – Janet Carter, 2006 Chevy 1500, Automatic, 2001 SunLite
“I use cruise control as much as possible. I usually set the speed at 60 miles per hour. It may have a slight improvement in gas mileage. I don’t have any safety concerns about using cruise control. To me using cruise control is the same with or without the truck camper.” – Charlie Cherry, 2009 GMC 2500, Automatic, 2008 Bigfoot 15C9.5
“We use cruise control on flat terrain set at 60 miles per hour. I do not notice any mileage improvement with a 460 CI gas engine. No safety concerns at all. Just more relaxing on the long road stretches.” – Ron Meredith, 1994 Ford F350, Automatic, 1991 Lance 835
“I only use cruise on long flat highways. 10 miles per hour or 10 KPH over speed limit. I believe it helps mileage. Not sure how much. Take it off on steep hills and long downhills. Never in the rain. That’s just my preference.” – George Reid, 2010 Chevy Silverado, Automatic, 1990 Livin lite
“Try to use it when I can. Rolling hills make it impossible to use sometimes, especially with a head wind. I try to set it about 60 miles per hour.” – Robert Hubbs, 2002 Dodge 2500 4×4, Automatic, 2010 Palomino Maverick M8801
“I use cruise control set at 64 miles per hour in tow/haul mode to equal 2,200 RPM for 22 miles per gallon highway. When I approach hills I take it out of cruise to better control the RPM to keep from over revving during down shifting. Works great.” – Tom Adams, 2001 GMC Sierra 2500HD 6.6L D, Automatic, 1998 Northland 10’
“I use cruise control mainly on the interstates and when traffic is light. I usually set it at 5 over the speed limit. Enjoy crossing Wyoming at 85 Miles per hour.” – Ron Tuskind, 2012 Chevy 2500HD, Automatic, 2012 Four Wheel Camper Hawk
“Yes, I use cruise control on my gas powered Ram 2500 4X4. My truck camper is fairly light (compared to hard sided units) and lower profile, so I tend to get lead foot. Setting the cruise control at about 67 miles per hour keeps my fuel consumption acceptable.
I can’t tell any difference in fuel mileage at 67 whether I use cruise or not, but it keeps me from creeping my speeds up over 70 miles per hour, which I certainly would do without setting the cruise control. A side note: I’m responding to this sitting in my truck camper waiting out a bad thunderstorm in the Oconee National Forest in Georgia.” – Rick Guffey, 2012 Ram 2500, Automatic, 2013 Hallmark Everest
“Yes, most definitely! I set my speed control to 65 miles per hour which puts the RPMs right at peak torque for my 7.5L. Around 2,200 RPMs with 4.10 gears gets me the least amount of downshifts and maximum miles per gallon. I have the Banks Powerpack for my truck which puts my peak torque at nearly 500 ft lbs and I like to keep the engine in that range as much as possible.” – Hugh Redmon, 1997 Ford F350, Automatic, 1998 Lance 990
“Yes! use cruise control. I keep it at 60, it’s fast enough to keep up in traffic and ideal for fuel mileage, especially on the long straight runs.” – DuWayne Hermann, 1996 Ford F150, Automatic, 1993 Fleetwood Elkhorn
“Yes, all the time on Interstates or provincial roads. I use my tow option and set the S Control to 60 miles per hour. I keep an eye on my pyrometer gauge and when getting close to 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit, I de-engage the SC until I’m over the hill otherwise the turbo kicks in. My liters per 100 kilo is 14.5 /100. This is towing a trailer with my Jeep.” – Ben Boulet, 2006 Ram 2500 HD, Automatic, 2012 Lance 855S
“I use cruise control on my car, but never on the truck with or without the camper on it. Gas prices were very high when I bought the truck so I researched fuel efficiency tips. Apparently using cruise control on hilly or winding roads is a fuel waster as the RPM goes way up climbing if left to the vehicle. I drive mostly back roads with lots of hills and curves, and try to stay at about 78 kilometers an hour (another fuel efficiency tip).
If there are no vehicles behind me I do not push further down on the gas pedal when I go up a hill allowing the truck to decelerate slightly. I make up for that rolling down the hill on the other side. I could not prove this improves fuel efficiency, but I have come to enjoy the mindful slower travel. When my daughter borrows the truck she always uses cruise control since her ADHD makes speed control a challenge. I notice that the fuel efficiency is down considerably.” – Michele McLeod, 2013 F150, Automatic, 2000 Travel Hawk 9.5
“Yes, I use the cruise control on the open road with this vehicle which is diesel with a 6-speed transmission. The vehicle I had before was gas and I did not use the cruise control nearly as often on it. By using the cruise control, I find I don’t get tired as much and with the diesel and 6-speed transmission. I believe it helps the gas mileage.” – Jerry Smith, 2012 Chevy 3500, Automatic, 2013 Arctic Fox 992
“I learned about cruise control at an early driving age and feel in love with it. I have never owned any vehicle that does not have it. On several vehicles I had to add it after I bought them. As for my truck now, it has it and I use it always, especially while on the interstates. As long as the weather is good, and there is no rain, snow or chance of ice on the roadway. Cruise control can get you into trouble fast under these conditions. If I get off on secondary roads then I will turn it off. Also I don’t use it in city driving.
As for fuel economy, I think I do get better fuel mileage while using it verses not. I usually travel with my sixteen-foot enclosed trailer which carries my Ultralight aircraft and motorcycle. So I get on the road, set the cruise to 65 miles per hour, put on some tunes and drive to wherever I am headed to next to fly.” – Michael Davis, 2016 Dodge Ram 3500, Automatic, 2016 CampLite 8.6
“Always use cruise control on level to slightly rolling ground, but not on hilly roads as I can feather the accelerator when ascending a hill, and actually help the gas mileage. My speed setting depends on the type of highway I am on: Interstates, my setting would be somewhere near the posted speed limit. On secondary highways, if light traffic, I like to set it at 50 miles per hour and enjoy the scenery. Cruise controls are wonderful tools.” – Ellis Tyson, 2006 GMC 2500HD, Automatic, 2000 Sun-Lite
“Yes, any time I can with traffic permitting. Always on Interstates and long stretches of highway. I set the cruise to the speed limit up to 65 miles per hour. Sometimes, when pressed for time, 68-69 miles per hour if speed limit allows.
I don’t know if helps gas mileage or not. More of a convenience thing. As for as safety goes, I use it the same with or without the camper, using it in traffic conditions that allow it’s use. My only real concern is going up steep grades when I disengage it to keep the engine from over revving.” – Henry Nelsem, 2007 Toyota Tundra, Automatic, 2013 Northstar Liberty
“It depends on where we are driving. In the mountains, no. That’s too hard on the fuel to try to maintain speed up and down hills (and often there’s no passing lane so speed gets adjusted depending on traffic). But, if we’re on a relatively flat highway, especially a divided one, yes. If I’m driving, I set the cruise to whatever the speed limit is (in Canada, that’s typically 110 kilometers an hour). If my husband drives, he usually goes a little faster. I don’t believe that cruise control affects fuel consumption, it just eases your need to maintain your foot position on the gas.” – Melissa Malejko, 2002 Chevy Silverado 2500HD, Automatic, 1981 Okanagan
“I almost always use cruise control. Referencing the on-board computer, the rig gets up to 15 miles per gallon on flat ground. 14.7 miles per gallon typical with loaded camper on flat ground. Wind varies miles per gallon. Combo gets higher miles per gallon at 62 miles per hour than it does at 55 miles per hour. I’m not a fast driver and I do not use “tow/haul mode” on the above results.
Cruise control would definitely waste fuel in hilly country. I have learned it best to accelerate in anticipation of hills. This can simply mean manually accelerating for hills, while still using cruise control. In real hills, cruise control is a waste of fuel and patience, as it cannot anticipate fuel needs in advance of hills. Tow/haul push button mode is much better in hilly country.
I have excellent acceleration fully loaded when not in tow/haul mode. I typically drive 92 miles to the same destination, thereby reinforcing validity of obtained miles per gallon results.
My old 1990 Dodge 2500 Cummins got 25 miles per gallon empty, on cruise, no tailgate. With the camper, the Dodge consistently got 20 miles per gallon at 55 miles per gallon on cruise control (manually computed). This with 3-speed automatic and 3.07 (rare) rear axle. I still own this mechanically excellent truck.
Dually is better for the 3,150 dry/4,000 wet (estimated) loaded camper weight.
The newer truck drives like a small motor motorhome, but in a much more rugged prime mover than any typical motorhome. For what it’s worth, the dually is much nicer (better suited) than a single rear wheel.” – Gary Seckel, 2006 Dodge 3500, Automatic, 2008 Northern Lite Ten 2000RR
“I use cruise on the interstate. At 55 miles per hour I can get 13 miles per gallon. At 70 miles per hour I get 10 miles per gallon. I try to drive 5 miles per hour below the posted max speed. Having everyone passing us seems to be less stressful then driving up on traffic. Less stress equals safety.” – Tom Scholtens, 2010 Chevy 2500HD, Automatic, 2013 Bigfoot 10.4
“I do use the cruise as much as I can. Between 60 and 70 and I feel the mileage is better on cruise than off .” – Chip Fraser, 2013 Chevy 2500HD, Automatic, 2015 Arctic Fox 865
“We always use cruise control on interstate highways. We set it between 55 and 65. I have found this can improve our mileage as much as 15 percent. We don’t use it in heavy rain, snow, or wind as I like to have more control in bad weather.” – Dave Jewell, 2008 Dodge 2500, Automatic, 2005 Alpenlite 850
“I use cruise control on light traffic open roads, set at 58, and I can tell from the miles per gallon readout on the instrument panel that it increases my miles per gallon by 1 to 2 miles per gallon, which works out to 5% to 10%. Occasionally, the transmission will downshift and rev up on hills, in which case I put my foot on the accelerator which automatically puts me out of cruise control and I will take over until I am over the hill.” – David Casterso, 2016 Ram 3500, Automatic, 2016 Cirrus 800
“I always use the cruise to avoid speeding tickets! I usually set it for the speed limit or a little above so I run with traffic. I seldom set it above 70 to save fuel. I can’t imagine not using it because it works so well up hill and down.” – Robert Mayton, 2014 Ford F450, Automatic, Lance 1172
“When traveling the open interstates with a 75 miles per hour speed limit I always set the cruise control at 65-68. When traffic slows or gets heavy, I disconnect it as there is frequent shifting. I can’t say if it improves economy as that is the way I drive and am happy with the results. I can’t believe the overhead read out. Always track expenses and miles per gallon on paper.” – John Hodan, 2006 Dodge Ram 3500, Manual 6-speed, 2003 Lance 915
“Yes, I use cruise control all the time on the interstates when loaded with the camper. I set it for 70 in the 65 zones in Oregon. I set it for 73 in the 70 zones in Oregon. When we hit Idaho and Utah with their 80 mile per hour zones, I set cruise at 75 generally.
Today’s new trucks are amazing. They can trailer 30,000 pounds and go 80 miles per hour all day long. A 5-6K camper is nothing for it.” – Elliott Groeneveld, 2016 Ram 3500, Automatic, 2011 Arctic Fox 1150
“With the camper on board, I have driven over 40,000 miles. I have tried many speed settings using cruise control and Bully Dog to find the best diesel mileages per gallon (miles per gallon) with a fully and various loaded camper on board.
The best mileage of 64 miles per hour has resulted in 12.1 miles per gallon average while driving on the interstate system. I set the Bully Dog for economic driving. Regardless of the hills, both up and down, the cruise control in concert with the Bully Dog maintains my speed.
Prior to installing the Bully Dog, the best 10.4 miles per gallon was obtained at 62 miles per hour. When needed, the Bully Dog provides the extra power for hills, passing, etc. With the factory installed exhaust brake on and in concert with the cruise control my speed is maintained within 5 miles per hour when going down hill.
A good question to ask would be “Do you have a chip or other system that increases both your power and miles per gallon? If so what system is it and how satisfied are you with it?” – Cliff Cizan, 2010 Ram 3500, Automatic, 2013 Arctic Fox 1150
“I use cruise control on the highway. I did not use it in my previous rig – a 2003 Toyota Tundra with a CampLite camper. The Toyota downshifted immediately if speed fell below the set speed and used more gas in cruise. The Ford allows more leeway and does appear to save gas, particularly in tow-haul mode. I set the cruise control at 58 or 59 miles per hour when traveling and do not have concerns about safety.” – John Yanowicz, 2015 Ford F350, Automatic, Arctic Fox 865
“I always like to use the cruise control when road and weather conditions permit and ideal. Hilly roads, no. Winter weather, no. Any appreciable head wind (above 7 to 8miles per hour), no. Anything above light traffic, no.
Most of my travel is on relatively lightly traveled rural highways where I can maintain a slower pace at 60 to 65 miles per hour, which helps miles per gallon and is much safer. Stopping distance is increased quite a bit when you are maxing out your payload and, unless you are really watching the road ahead, the cruise control can cause you to react just a bit slower and thus travel a bit farther forward before you hit the brakes and start the slow down process.
If you are driving flat terrain with no real headwind, then I find cruise control can slightly increase miles per gallon, otherwise manual throttle control is best. Driving a 11,000 pound load with a big frontal area, wanting good miles per gallon is just wishful thinking.” – Carlton Basmajian, 2012 Ford F350, Automatic, 2016 Wolf Creek 850
“Yes, I do. Normally I use cruise anywhere between 50 and 60 miles per hour. I don’t really know if it improved the mileage, I use it to rest my old foot. For safety reasons I don’t use cruise in town, heavy traffic, steep hills, or in bad road conditions.” – John Bull, 2004 Dodge 3500, Automatic, 2015 Arctic Fox 990
“We usually use the cruise control set at 65. We tow a 2009 Honda CRV and the owners manual states the 65 miles per hour is the maximum speed to tow in order to not burn up the transmission. That’s perfect for us as it gives us about 14 miles per gallon. We can also enjoy the scenery a lot better.” – Stafford Miller, 1999 Ford F-350, Automatic, 1999 Lance 980
“I do use cruise control. I set it 65 or 66 and get 10 miles per gallon average. This camper is taller and heavier than my old Lance where I averaged 12.6. At 70 on cruise, I’m in the low 9s. And yes, it is a gas motor.” – George Randall, 2012 Ford F350, Automatic, 2016 Arctic Fox 865
“I almost always use cruise control. Towing a boat or enclosed with toys inside, approximately 65 miles per hour. Some will say its unsafe, that depends on many factors, too many to list here. Having been a traffic investigator for over 23 years, the list of pro/cons is endless. I don’t pay attention to the miles per gallon. Who cares if you can afford this stuff.” – Ed Gardner, 2008 Ford F350, Automatic, 2008 Arctic Fox
“I use cruise control when there is no traffic. I set it based on traffic, between 70 and 75.” – David Carvalho, 2006 Dodge Ram, Automatic, 2013 Alaskan
“I always use it on the highway unless we are in heavy traffic. For long interstate runs, we love it. We set it at 65, which is the speed limit and it works just fine. I suspect it improves miles per gallon and my foot is not active. I would probably drift higher in speed. No safety concerns for me since I stay very alert.” – Jim McCrea, 2013 F350, Automatic, 2013 Northern Lite 10-2 CD SE
“Yes, I use the cruise control. I typically set it for a mile or two per hour under the speed limit. That keeps me from having to fight the traffic. I can just set it and forget it. The only time I will not use the cruise control is if I am in heavy traffic, a two lane winding highway, or climbing up long steep grades. I typically see better mileage the more I use the cruise control.” – Craig Lucas, 2012 Ford F250, Automatic, 2015 Arctic Fox 811
“We’ve experimented and found that it really didn’t make a difference. We still get about 10.4 miles per gallon on long trips. We now use cruise control about 90% of the time on the highway. The only exception is when we are traveling in the mountains. Then, we prefer not to use it so we can better control the engine speed.” – Pierre Mongeau, 2013 Silverado 2500 HD, Automatic
“I do use cruise control and I, like you, set it around 62 miles per hour. Mileage seems to be fairly consistent assuming minimal wind. I’ve found that following a semi at 70 increases the mileage about .7 of a mile per gallon. I wish I had adaptive cruise control so it would follow at the same distance and slow and speed up as necessary. We love traveling in the camper for four or five months at a time during the summer. I look forward to seeing your results.” – Jeff Kligora, 2007 Chevy 3500HD, Automatic, 2007 Okanagan 117DBL
“Of course I use cruise control. It makes trips much more enjoyable. I usually set it for whatever the speed limit is, 65 or 75, depending on the highway. On secondary roads I may not use it, but that’s the exception, not the rule. There are no safety concerns with cruise engaged since the truck handles the camper like it isn’t even there. On the other hand, without cruise, I sometimes find myself driving over the speed limit, so it actually enhances safety for me.” – Phil Rodacy, 2012 GMC 3500, Automatic, 2006 Okanagan 90W
“We use cruise when on the interstate, and provisionally when on a good highway with little chance of someone pulling in front of us. We generally hang with the big trucks’ speed when on the interstate, but we try to stay away from them and just match their cruise speed. That’s around 64 or so.” – Jay Knight, 2009 Chevy 2500, Automatic, 2015 Northstar Adventurer
“Yes, cruise is on all the time on most roads and is set at 62 to 63 miles per hour. Diesel torque makes it a no brainer unless it is an extremely steep climb. Then, I reduce speed just to save fuel. I chose 62 to 63 as that is the speed that the CHP allows big rigs to travel in California, despite the statewide archaic 55 miles per hour speed limit for all vehicles towing trailers.
There is little benefit in pulling out to pass 18 wheelers, and then ducking back in and out. The one exception is in metro areas during commute hours. I’ll pull into the HOV (diamond) lane and run at its speed, which is usually 70-75 to avoid the bumper to bumper horde of single occupant vehicles hoping to go 25 miles per hour in the regular lanes. The double yellows that designate the HOV lane are virtual walls and there is no moving in or out except at designated exit/entry points.
I have averaged 13.6 miles per gallon for the 24,000 miles since new in November of 2014. It is only turning 1500 RPM.” – Joe Sesto, 2015 Silverado 3500, Automatic, 2015 Bigfoot 2500 10.6E
“I use cruise control in the flat lands set to about 55 or 60 depending on the road conditions. Keeping at these speeds with cruise does improve gas mileage. When driving in the mountains, I prefer to control the speed easing off going up hills and easing on going down hills. This improves gas mileage significantly by an average of two to three more miles per gallon. On flat lines I get a consist 15.2 miles per gallon. On hilly or mountainous terrain I get somewhere between 12.1 to 13.3. I use the cruise when appropriate because it’s a more relaxing drive.” – Dennis Stitt, 2005 Ram 1500, Automatic, 2013 Travel Lite 840 SBRX
“We use cruise on the straight away. It set it 60 to 65 miles per hour. It works very well for us and does save on gas. It’s not practical on extreme hills or mountain roads. I never use it in the snow or very wet roads.” – Gerry Reeves, 2014 Ford F250, Automatic, 2014 Lance 825
“I use my cruise control most of the time when traffic and conditions permit, which increases my mileage. On interstates, l typically drive five miles per hour below the limit and never more 70.
On hills and curvy mountain roads with multiple switch backs I don’t use it. My wife insists that I drive those roads not using cruise control, especially when no guardrails are present. I have bruises to prove how much she hates that!” – Tom Robert, 2015 Ford F350, Automatic, Arctic Fox 1150
“We use the cruise control almost all the time on the interstate and highways. We do not use it on the twist and turns in the mountains. I do not think you see much difference in mileage. I think it is mainly a convenience factor.” – Matt Wiegand, 2014 Ford F150, Automatic, 2015 Palomino SS-1251
“I use cruise on the flat land and helps in mileage slightly. In hilly country I do not use cruise and get better mileage. Letting the speed drop slightly on a hill seems better than the cruise keeping the speed the same.” – Brent Bolton, 2006 Chevy 3500, Automatic, 2001 Corsair
“I keep the speed usually at 55 to 60 on flat, straight road and get 11.5 to 12.5 miles per gallon. My speed varies on hilly curvy roads and I get 10 miles per gallon.” – Ernest Walace, 2006 Chevy 3500HD, 6 speed, 2005 Lance Max 881
“I do drive with cruise control out on the highway. I keep it about 73 miles per hour. I don’t think it affects my mileage. I do it for the convenience. I keep a good distance between me and anybody in front of me.” – Jim Hignite, 2012 GMC 3500, Automatic, 2007 Lance 1055
“I use cruise control most of the time when I am on the open road. I do not use it often when I’m driving in the city because of the stop and go in the Los Angeles area.
It does help with fuel mileage. With the truck, camper, and the trailer loaded with the Jeep, I get about 13 miles per gallon on cruise and about 11.5 with my foot. I keep it around 60 to 65 miles per hour.” – Phil Olson, 2011 GMC 3500, Automatic, 2013 Lance 992
“Funny you should mention that. I just arrived in Flagstaff, Arizona for Overland Expo 2016 which is fifteen hundred miles of droning down freeways from Port Angeles, Washington. I used the cruise constantly because it does a better job of controlling speed than I do. It also finds a sweet spot on the on the engine that makes it run quieter and, I think, gives me better mileage. A solid, capable dependable truck with cruise control, a good stereo, and air conditioning, what more could you ask for If you’re going on a long trip?” – Steve Timmings, 2003 Ford F350, Automatic, 2013 FWC Hawk SC
“I absolutely use cruise control. I set it for 63 miles per hour and stay in the right lane on the highways.” – Steven Oliver, 1995 Chevy K3500, Automatic, 2000 Lance 1120
“I frequently use cruise control, but with discretion of traffic and the quality of the road. Most American interstates the sweet spot for cruising with the humongous Arctic Fox 1150 is at 110 kilometers per hour or about 65 miles per hour. Naturally, you have to be pretty alert to any traffic jams or unusual truck traffic, in which case I prefer to ease up and use manual acceleration to keep in control.
Fuel mileage probably would go up in cruise, especially in hilly and mountainous regions. However, fuel consumption is the last of my worries as long as the rig performs as intended. The bottom line is, don’t buy or own a Mercedes, Jaguar, Bimmer, or Ferrari and then try and save on fuel. It is a contradiction that becomes a party joke.” – Mashoud Janjua, 2003 Ram 3500, Manual, 2007 Arctic Fox 1150
“According to a GM engineer that was contacted by my pickup dealership’s service manager, cruise control and tow/haul mode are best used together. Set the cruise control low enough the transmission doesn’t shift excessively. The automation combination is excellent over level or rolling hill terrain, whenever there isn’t a gusty headwind, and wherever the traffic is light. Engine braking on downhills is even automated and the computers are programmed to protect the engine and transmission from damage.
I don’t use cruise control if the road is icy, very wet, or often, in mountains. I avoid interstate highways (nothing interesting is found along four-lanes) and metropolitan areas. So, weather permitting, I use the cruise control and tow/haul combination often.” – Philip Tron, 2009 Chevy 3500, 6-speed Automatic, 2012 Lance 1050
“I use cruise control, usually set at the speed limit of the road. Yes, it does improve miles per gallon, and I have no safety concerns when using it.” – Tim Chapell, 2013 Ford F150, Automatic, 2013 Palomino SS-1251
“Yes, it works for me, but I prefer driving with my foot. I never checked miles per gallon. Safety all depends on how well your truck handles the sway and load. If it is set up right, it shouldn’t have any problems. I feel in control at all times, and my wife even drives while I sleep.” – Doug Baughman, 2011 Ford F350, Automatic, 1993 Lance 990
“Yes, we use cruise control. I prefer to use the cruise. It is less stress and it holds the speed very well. Usually I try to stay in the slow lane and run the speed limit. Yes, the cruise helps with fuel mileage. The speed is what really effects mileage. 70 miles per hour averages 12.5 to 13 miles per gallon. We ran about 270 miles of the Natchez Trace at 50 miles per hour. There is little wind between the trees and we got up to 18.3 miles per gallon. I don’t believe safety is an issue because the driver has to pay 150% attention whether the cruise is on or not.” – Charles Wade, 2016 Ram 3500, Automatic, 2016 Northern Lite 10-2 EX CDSE
“Absolutely. I wouldn’t be without cruise control. I drove trucks, mostly long-haul, for over 20 years beginning in the 1970s. During that time, the greatest reduction in driver fatigue came from two things; air conditioning, and cruise control. I wouldn’t want to be without either for any kind of distance driving.
I drive at 60 miles per hour plus or minus 5 miles per hour to adjust for traffic flow. I choose this convenient one-mile-per-minute speed as a compromise between time and cost. In addition to burning more fuel, higher speeds accelerate other wear and damage as well. Tires are particularly vulnerable. Pitting and chipping of paint and glass also increases substantially as speed goes up.
While I have no hard evidence to support it, I’m sure it does improve your miles per gallon. It’s just not possible to be as smooth and consistent as a properly functioning cruise control over the course of a long drive.
Be hyper-vigilant or avoid using cruise control on any surface other than dry pavement. The slight additional time needed for disengagement will hinder recovery from a loss of traction situation. Also, even in normal conditions, don’t let cruise control carry you into a bad situation by delaying disengagement. If in doubt, turn it off.” – Mike Siedlecki, 2013 Ram 3500, Manual, 2006 Lance 1191
“We use ours on the interstates and on rural two lane highways. I set it at 65 or 70 miles per hour. It’s much more comfortable, and if you have to brake or slow, you can cancel or hit resume. Safety is not an issue for us, because we don’t do 80+ with a camper or trailer. In California it’s 55 miles per hour if you are towing. It gives my right foot a rest and I can keep tap to the rock and roll on the radio!” – Mike Kolinski, 2012 GMC 2500, Automatic, 2012 FWC Hawk
“Yes, I always use cruise control when practical. I set it for 71 on the highway. I don’t think it really helps with my gas mileage. It keeps me from getting speeding tickets.” – Dave and Cheryl Barker, 2014 Ram 3500, Automatic, 2015 Northstar 850SC
“Yes, I use cruise control. Living and traveling in the west means long distances between destinations and cruise control is a must. I have a diesel and set the control for about 2000 RPM. This translates to about 68 miles per hour. I have averaged over 22 miles per gallon over some legs of my travels, but overall it is about 18 miles per gallon on the highway. I think cruise control is a big part of that. Obviously, you need to pay attention to what is going on around you and that includes traveling at a speed that is prudent for the traffic and road conditions. I don’t see cruise control as a safety issue; more of a tool for gobbling up the miles.” – Tom Waters, 2003 Dodge 2500, 6-speed Manual, 2014 FWC Grandby
“Yes, I occasionally use cruise control. I normally have to climb over a mountain pass or two, but whenever I find a normal stretch in the road I use cruise control. I set the cruise at the posted speed limit (normally 55 miles per hour and occasionally 65 miles per hour), but I don’t know if it helps with mileage while hauling and towing such a heavy load. Safety concerns while using cruise control are sharp corners, oncoming traffic passing oncoming cars, moose stepping out into the road, or an occasional bear crossing.” – Allen Jedlicki, 2012 GMC 2500HD, Automatic, 2014 Wolf Creek 850SB
“I find that cruise control makes driving the camper less tiring. I seldom use cruise with our Acura or Honda. With gas prices low, I don’t worry much about mileage and set the speed at the speed limit which is generally 70 to 75. I get between 11 to 12 miles per gallon. When diesel was close to $4 per gallon, I set it at about 60 to 65 and would get between 12 to 14.” – Bob Codd, 1997 Ford F350, Automatic, 2003 Summerwind
“I have a Banks equipped with exhaust brake and no pre/post measurements. Long term use of cruise control gives me the strong belief that the use of cruise control does improve economy, especially in combination with the exhaust brake. I estimate a 5% to 10% improvement.” – Ronald Ramos, 2003 Ram 3500, Automatic, 2001 Adventurer 9’
“I’ll use cruise control while driving any extended period of time. I won’t use it in mountainous or short curved roads. I set it at 60 miles per hour and my miles per gallon is great! On average, I get 18 miles per gallon. I drive like an old man. I want to live to be one. We’ve no safety concerns regarding the truck and camper. Those stem from traffic and road conditions.” – Ralph Bosse, 1996 Dodge 2500, Automatic, 1994 Lance 480
“I use cruise control while I am highway driving, such as on the express way. I usually set it somewhere between 60 to 65 depending on conditions. If we are traveling in mountains, even on the express way, I turn it off. I am really pleased with the transmission in my Chevy. The tow-haul mode eliminates a lot of the changes I needed to make in my former truck. I also don’t use cruise control in the rain based on safety.” – Steve Merrill, 2009 Chevy Silverado 3500, 6-speed Automatic, 2007 Lance 992
“I use cruise control while truck camping every chance I can safely do so. I usually set my speed at 65 miles per hour, but this is subject to change depending on road conditions, how many miles I plan to drive that day, weather conditions, and the price of fuel. If fuel is more expensive, I will drive slower. I suspect that my fuel economy is better when using cruise control, but I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that I’m much more relaxed at the end of the day when I’m using cruise control. I limit the use of cruise control while driving in the mountains due to the transmission downshifting while the rig is climbing up the hill causing the engine to race to maintain the set speed.” – Eldon Rhodes, 2008 Chevy 3500HD, Automatic, 2011 Lance 1050
“We use the cruise control about 50% of the time and set it for 62 to 63 miles per hour. We only use it if the road has small hills. The cruise does not see what is ahead. It waits until it starts up the hill and does not back off until it gets over the top and then backs off to keep the truck at set speed.
With the cruise off, on hilly roads, we can go easy into the throttle before the hill and ease back as we go over the top. Then, we can actually speed up a little going down the other side with less throttle. This would improve miles per gallon over the cruise control. As with any style of driving, do not let the cruise stay on when creeping up on the vehicle ahead, when the traffic volume increases around you, or on wet slippery roads.” – Howard Currin, 1986 GMC Sierra C3500, 4-speed Manual, 2006 Adventurer 810WS
“When traveling on flat roads, I will set the cruise at 65. In the Texas Hill Country, I found the truck shifts too much, and gas mileage suffers. Also the sleeping people appreciate not listening to the roar of the exhaust when it downshifts.” – Matt Engel, 2007.5 Dodge 3500, Automatic, 2010 Capri Retreat
“The use of cruise control for me is done once I’m on the open highway and if there is not a lot of traffic. I usually set the speed at the posted limit, and no faster than 75. If there is very high wind/rain or questionable road surface I don’t use cruise control. As far as miles per gallon with the use of cruise control, there hasn’t been much of a different to worry about. So far I’ve had no safety problems with my truck’s cruise control, and it has operated in a very predictable manner.” – Alex Blasingame, 2007 Ford F250, Automatic, 2002 Lance 815
“Yes I use cruise control a lot. It’s typically set around 57 to 58 miles per hour. This keeps me just below most speed limits and just under 2000 RPM. I’ve found that 2000 is where fuel mileage really begins to suffer.” – Pete Clark, 2006 Dodge 3500, Manual, 2008 SnowRiver 10-2 RK
“Unless I’m on a crowded highway, I usually use cruise control. I drive the speed limit, but not faster than 62 miles per hour. When going up grades, I sometimes take it off cruise control. One downshift is okay, but I don’t like two. I wouldn’t travel 9K+ miles a year in my camper without cruise control.” – Ralph Goff, 2006 GMC 2500HD, Automatic, 2001 Lance 845
“Yes, I use cruise control. I also flat tow a 1947 CJ2A Jeep most of the time when the camper is on. With speed limits up to 65, I generally set the cruise control at the speed limit. For speed limits greater than 65, I set the cruise at 65 when towing the Jeep and 70 to 75 with just the camper. Interstate speed limits in Idaho are up to 80 miles per hour. The Ford 6-speed automatic and EMC (diesel engine brake) do a very good job of holding the speed both up and down hills. If the road has a lot of curves making it impractical to use cruise control, then I’ll use my right foot.
As far as mileage goes, I don’t notice much difference one way or the other. Speed and wind have the most effect on my mileage. I get 13 to 15 with the camper and 11 to 15 with the camper and Jeep. I live in the Boise, Idaho area so most of my camping miles are up and down hill roads with speed limits in the 45 to 65 mile per hour range.” – Dave Erickson, 2011 Ford F350, Automatic, 2006 Arctic Fox 990
“I do use cruise control while driving with the camper. I feel it saves on fuel, reduces fatigue, and ensures that my speed is consistent with the posted limits.
I do follow the speed limits and I set the cruise control to the speed limit. Safety is foremost on my mind; arriving safe without being involved in an accident or having to explain to a police officer why I was going over the speed limit is very important to me. Following the speed limit helps ensure that all of this happens.” – Dave Riddle, 2015 Chevrolet 3500, Automatic, 2006 Host Tahoe
“Yes, we use cruise control whenever possible. I set it to the speed limit.” – Andy Scoles, 2003 GMC 2500HD, Automatic, 1996 Coachmen
“I use cruise control to relax my foot. I set it at 65 or whatever the speed limit is.” – Ron Richardson, 2014 Ram 3500, Automatic, 2012 Wolf Creek 850
“Yes, I use cruise control, mainly on the interstates, but also on light traffic roads that look safe ahead. Usually I set cruise at 60 miles per hour, or if trucks are ahead, I set it at their speed. Miles per gallon usually stays the same, unless there is a tailwind. I do not use cruise in any traffic or slow and go situations. Common sense always out weights safety when in traffic, but there is always that driver that you have to watch out for. Good defense driving gets me to where I want to go.” – Charlie Young, 2013 Chevy 2500HD, Automatic, 2012 Riverside 865
“When we purchased the Lance camper, we met the previous owners half way, which turned out to be Memphis, Tennessee. This is my sixth truck camper, and I used to work in the RV business, so I knew how to set up the truck ahead of time. I installed a set of Torklift frame mounted tie downs on my truck and Torklift Stable Load overload bump stops for the extra weight. We have owned the F350 since it was brand new, and it was ordered with a HD camper prep package.
The truck has the 7.3 Powerstroke diesel engine with a six speed manual trans and 4:10 final gear ratio. The low gear allows the truck to tow heavy loads without straining the engine. We routinely run in sixth gear which is a 20% overdrive and always use the cruise control. As for fuel economy, the truck averages 20 miles per gallon empty, 16 miles per gallon with the camper not towing, 15 miles per gallon with the camper towing a 22-foot sport cuddy boat, and 12 miles per gallon with the camper and a 24-foot enclosed car trailer with a muscle car inside.
When we first purchased the camper and left Memphis, I was a little timid at first. I set the cruise control at 65 miles per hour for about the first 100 miles or so, and then bumped it up to 70 and it did great! Very stable.
The states we mostly travel in have a 60 miles per hour speed limit for anyone towing a boat, so we usually keep our speed below 65 miles per hour. I modified the boat trailer a few years back with Dexter 4K electric brakes on both axles and an auxiliary battery that is mounted on the winch stand so that it says dry when launching and retrieving the boat.
The truck has aftermarket high performance brakes on it, and the whole thing starts, stops, and handles wonderfully. We typically hold the speed to 60 miles per hour with the race car trailer just because of the weight and size of the rig when it is all hitched together. And we use the cruise control.” – Charles Spray, 2002 Ford F350, Manual, 2001 Lance 1010
“I use the cruise all the time and have never had any problems and feel perfectly safe. I usually run right at whatever the speed limit is. As normally would happen, the fuel mileage goes down as the speed goes up.” – Mike Herzfeldt, 2011 Silverado 3500, Automatic, 2016 Host Mammoth
“I always use cruise control on the highway. It lets me keep my attention
on the road instead of on the speed. It also has shown to me how to improve fuel mileage.” – Eric Anderson, 2001 Ram 3500, Automatic, 2013 Arctic Fox 990
“I use cruise control when my right foot gets tired. I never set it over 65 miles per hour. Using the cruise control actually lowers my mileage when it is hilly. I can control the accelerator easier with my foot so the transmission does not down shift as much. I never use cruise in the rain or heavy traffic.” – Erwin Greven, 2002 Chevrolet 2500HD, Automatic, 2002 Lance 921
“Yes, I use cruise control 80 to 90% of the time on interstate roadways. With speed limits in numerous states in the 75 to 80 miles per hour range, I find that using cruise control keeps me at my preferred speed of around 65 to 70 miles per hour. It is difficult to keep a constant speed when traffic is going faster than I wish to go. Instead of moving along with traffic and gauging speed based on keeping up, using cruise control takes the guesswork out of the equation.
Of course, in heavy traffic, inclement weather, and when on rough paving, I disengage the cruise control. I have not noticed improved mileage, as I am in the 11 to 12 miles per gallon range with the truck camper loaded.” – S. Frank Lucatorto, 2006 Ford F350, Automatic, 2013 Lance 1172
“I normally use cruise control to increase miles per gallon. I set my speed at 62 miles per hour. I have found using cruise control gets me one to two miles per gallon more. If I am in the mountains or a lot of hills, I do not use cruise control.
I use tow haul for safety reasons. Any time I am in heavy traffic or in town, I always have my truck in tow haul which helps with down shifting and quicker stops.” – Richard Edmondson, 2011 Ford F350, Automatic, 2015 Lance 1052
“I just replaced the automatic with a manual transmission, and I used cruise control with the automatic all of the time, only on relatively flat areas. The cruise control would disengage automatically on hills when the truck tried to down shift.
As for the fuel mileage, I think it may have helped. However, I was more concerned about concentrating on the driving and did not want to worry about the speed. It is more relaxing. I have never had any concerns about safety at all.” – Steven Cilenti, 1999 Ford F350, Manual, 2012 Arctic Fox 990
“I only use it on flat ground and not in heavy traffic or rain or snow. I usually set it at 72 miles per hour and 1500 RPMs. When used, it is a boon to comfort. Semper Fi.” – Mike Ashworth, 2011 Ram 2500, Automatic, 1989 Jayco
“Yes, I use cruise control when I am hauling my truck camper and even when towing my boat at the same time. Because the truck has a diesel engine I have no problem maintaining posted highway speeds or less depending on the terrain I am traveling through. I do feel it saves fuel, compared against trying to keep a steady pace with your right foot. I mostly use cruise when traveling on a four or more lane highway where faster traffic can safely pass without me having to alter my speed.” – William Steger, 2005 GMC 2500HD, 5-speed Automatic, 1995 Kodiak SC83
“Only when we are on major highways do we use cruise control. Our speed is set, so the computer is not searching to down shift. We use the haul mode which changes the shift points of the transmission. I try for 64 miles per hour on the major highways. Fuel mileage does not seem to change with the diesel between 58 to 65 miles per hour. We have been used to towing a 15 thousand pound fifth wheel for many miles, so going from 10.5 to 11 miles per gallon to 12.5 to 13 has been different. I have always used cruise control even towing the last two fifth wheels without any concerns.” – Eric Devolin, 2007 GMC 3500, Automatic, 2006 Adventurer 106 DBS
“I use cruise control whenever we’re on a road trip. It’s a much more relaxing way to drive, especially on long flat boring highways. On curving winding roads, I prefer to have control of the throttle.
It also helps with the fuel economy. I usually set it between 62 to 65 miles per hour. This past week we were returning from Pendleton, Oregon so I set cruise control for 66 miles per hour. Miles per gallon was holding steady at 13.4 as we proceeded on Highway 84 heading into the Columbia Gorge. Then, the wind hit us head on. I backed off cruise to 63 miles per hour, and our miles per gallon dropped to 12.0.
When we passed by Hood River my EVIC (Electronic Vehicle Information Center) indicated 80 miles to empty. I don’t like being that low on fuel and didn’t want to fill up with diesel until we got home to Vancouver.
So I set the cruise to 54 miles per hour, and what a difference. Luckily the wind died off after Cascade Locks and our miles per gallon increased to 14.3. By the time we arrived home I still had 72 miles to empty. Considering it’s about 75 miles from Vancouver to Hood River it really makes a difference using cruise control and driving at a lower speed.” – Roger Odahl, 2008 Ram 3500, Automatic, 2004 Eagle Cap 950
“Yes, I use cruise when on the open road and when it is not raining. I usually set the cruise at 65 miles per hour (assuming the limit is 70). This way, I usually stay in the right lane and all the others going my way pass us. We rarely have to pass, but when we do, I go up a little in speed and then drop back to 65. When in congested traffic I do not use cruise, preferring to drive with manual control. I do believe that using cruise improves the miles per gallon.” – Dewey Lackey, 2003 Silverado 3500, Automatic, 2014 Lance 1172
“Cruise works for me on major highways. I don’t use it on most two lane roads.” – Greg Gaser, 2014 Ford F350, Automatic, 2017 lance 1172
“When the road is long and flat with no wind, the cruise is on. Wyoming does not allow for that very often. Puckering crosswinds is no place for cruise control. I slow down and look for the safety of a rest stop. I also turn it off for steep uphill grades. I like to keep the RPMs on my 7.3 around 2100 for best miles per gallon. I just bought a 2016 F350 with the 6.7 diesel. It is being readied to take over the role of truck camper hauler. My first trip will be a 3000 mile trip to Key West and then up the east coast to Maine and back to Wyoming. It will be a great cruise and hopefully most of it on cruise control. Please, no crosswinds.” – Larry Kelly, 2016 Ford F350, Automatic, 2015 Palomino 8801
“Yes I use cruise control, but never when it is raining. I set it at 64 miles per hour. It seems like the 7.3L diesel likes that speed and consumes the fuel in a reasonable manner. At that speed I usually get around 13 miles per gallon. Normally we have our fresh water tanks half full (15 gal+/-) and the dry weight of our Lance is around 2900 pounds. Also the other vehicles that are traveling at 70 miles per hour or more are bunched up in packs, hitting their brakes, and frequently changing lanes. Take it from some on who used to drive a tractor/trailer for a living, cruise control takes the stress, tension and pain away from your right ankle, knee, leg, and lower back.” – Jerry Bonneau, 1995 Ford F350SD, Automatic, 2002 Lance 1061
“I just bought the 2015 F250 which replaced my 1999 F150 so I am waiting to see how the new truck handles the old camper. With the F150 4.6 V8 I would use the cruise control when on the freeway set at 60 to 65 miles per hour. I would keep my eye on the tack and would cancel cruise before it would downshift on an uphill grade holding the gas steady. I might lose a couple of miles per hour, but I do not have the engine screaming to hold the exact speed. When in hilly county I would also rest my foot on the accelerator while using cruise control. Going down hill I would gain a few miles per hour, but usually gained enough momentum to go up the next hill without needing to accelerate. I would average about 12 miles per gallon on most of our trips. My best was 19 miles per gallon. I can’t wait to see how the new truck handles.” – Mike and Nancy Pohl, 2015 Ford F250, 6-speed Automatic, 1985 American Pilgrim 8.5 hardside