Do you actually save money on gas with the ‘Eco Mode’ button?

With gas prices hovering around $2 a gallon, if you have the “eco mode” button on your vehicle, you’re probably hoping it will save you some money at the pumps.

While some automakers promise savings of as much as 12 percent, or $12 for every $100 you put in your tank, chances are it’s closer to five percent, or $5 savings per $100.

“I would say, definitely use it. With today’s high prices, it makes sense to try and save money,” said Sheldon Williamson, a professor in the Automotive Center of Excellence at Ontario Tech University.

Automakers have created the eco mode option that sits on many newer vehicles, but some drivers may have wondered when the eco button lights up exactly how much they’re really saving.

Williamson said data shows that depending on your vehicle, eco mode may not help you save as much as some automakers claim.

“Several automakers are claiming 10 to 12 percent fuel savings, but the real data shows it’s more like five to six percent, maybe seven percent in savings,” Williamson says.

Williams said there is evidence that more expensive luxury cars packed with more technological advancements are more likely to hit the 12 percent savings threshold.

“It gives you instant feedback on the optimal speed and torque for the engine,” Williamson said.

Also, when it comes to eco mode, it really depends on the make and model of your vehicle, as every automaker says their button saves gas in different ways.

CTV News contacted Toyota Canada and a spokesperson said: “A truly functional ECO feature is one of many features in Toyota and Lexus cars designed to further increase fuel economy – and thus further reduce carbon emissions. The ECO function, or ‘ECO Mode’, adjusts engine and transmission behavior to provide improved fuel economy.Many Toyota and Lexus vehicles also have an ECO function as part of their ventilation system. activate it, the air conditioning can operate at a lower power, which is again beneficial for fuel consumption – and a further reduction in CO2 emissions.”

CTV News Toronto also heard from Stellantis Communications and a spokesperson said: “On Stellantis vehicles with an ECO (fuel economy) mode, activating the ECO switch will change the automatic transmission shift points (mapping) to enable the trans. to shift to higher gears earlier (higher gears = lower rpm = better fuel economy) and hold each higher gear longer (slows downshifting) as the car slows down.”

It also adjusts the throttle response for a smoother RPM rise (minimizes “Jack Rabbit” starts) and if the vehicle is equipped with Multi Displacement System (cylinder deactivation), the mode expands the zone where MDS works. cylinders to reduce fuel consumption.”

Honda Canada told CTV News Toronto through a spokesperson: “Honda’s ECON button can save money on gas when turned on by changing settings on different systems. It adjusts throttle response, limits shifting behavior, reduces air conditioning system capacity and reduces airflow. fuel injection to increase fuel economy.”

Honda added that ECON mode works best when cruising on the highway at a steady speed, driving around town in normal conditions, driving over flat terrain, when nothing is being towed and when you don’t need maximum air conditioning. Honda has added the ECON mode which is not ideal on very hot days, when entering and exiting the highway, when overtaking other vehicles, when towing or on dirt roads or on steep slopes.

Williamson said the bottom line is that the eco mode works, but don’t expect huge fuel savings. It’s also a feature that can be left on all the time if you’re looking for maximum fuel efficiency.

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