If you do a lot of driving, you may be interested in how to save money on gas. In which case, here’s the ideal device for you: a system that alerts you when you’re driving efficiently and non-efficiently.
From a startup in Australia, the GoFar consists of three parts: a dongle that you place in your car’s computer port (a.k.a. the “Onboard Diagnostic Port,” located under the steering wheel); a dashboard display that colors blue to show you’re driving at a optimal speed and red to show that you’re wasting fuel; and a phone app that records all your vehicle’s journeys and can provide after-the-fact analysis.
The aim is to correct inefficient driving habits such as too-quick acceleration, over-forceful braking and start-stop driving. The dongle calculates energy lost from braking, wind resistance and the friction of the car on the road; it measures carbon emissions (from gas flow-rate and “combustion conditions”); and it maps where the car is on the road at any time, so it can say whether you’re moving too fast or too slowly.
Some modern cars already have efficiency guides, but GoFar cofounder Ian Davidson says these tend to be limited to easy-to-measure things like the up-to-down position of the throttle. Measuring the energy losses from braking and outside conditions sets the system apart: “Because we’re tracking energy losses, we can quantify in dollars and cents where your money is going,” he says. Plus, the system can be retrofitted to older models. For the U.S., it will work with any model made after 1996, according to the company.
The Sydney startup is now raising funds on Kickstarter. It plans to start sending out the device, along with an iOS app, in November. The Android version is due in December. It costs $99, plus shipping.
“Efficient driving for commuters is mostly free money,” Davidson says. “You don’t get there any slower, you just use less fuel. And efficient driving is also safer, because it leads to less accidents. Less accidents is nice.”