What Does Eco Mode Mean on a Car?

December 5, 2023

In a world where manufacturers are plugging in innovations faster than you can keep track of, it's only natural that some controls and features might confuse you at first glance. One such control is the Eco Mode button found in most modern cars. What does it do and when should you use it?

When you push the Eco Mode button on your vehicle's steering wheel or dashboard, it changes how your car operates. It does this by altering the operation of specific energy-intensive features, such as your air conditioning. In most cases, the Eco Mode feature reduces how often your air conditioning runs and may even shut off completely when the car is stopped.

Another change that comes with enabling Eco Mode is how your vehicle accelerates. This is because the Eco Mode setting restricts how fast your vehicle can accelerate, which ultimately saves fuel and electricity. It does this by slowing your vehicle's throttle response and adjusting transmission shifting. Some cars also lower the intensity of your interior lights when Eco Mode is enabled.

Despite how you might feel about limiting your car's acceleration, there are still many instances in which spirited driving is necessary. This is especially true when you're navigating a busy highway or merging into traffic, as the ability to quickly accelerate across multiple lanes of traffic can be a lifesaver. As such, it's best to avoid using Eco Mode on any drive in which you anticipate requiring spirited driving.


Traffic Dave is on a mission to help traffic engineers, transportation planners, and other transportation professionals improve our world.
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