Monday, August 29, 2011

Eco-nomics: Fuel Efficiency - There Should be an App

Okay app nerds, here is an idea for a good one (though probably not a profitable one).  Today's fuel efficient cars are fuel efficient in very different ways.  Diesel cars tend to be very efficient at constant revs but less so the revs vary a lot, thus they are great for highway driving, less so for city driving.  Hybrids are the opposite, the electric motor does a lot of the heavy lifting in the city but the gas engine has to kick in on the highway.

So what car is right for your particular driving habits?  A lot of us can make some generalizations about our driving and many might be able to point the car to purchase if our goal is to burn a little fuel as possible.  But there a probably lots of folks like me whose driving habits don't provide a clear cut answer.  For those people I think the new smart phones can provide a precise answer.

The app would be simple, keep track of city versus highway driving by using the GPS function of the phone.  Feed the data into a simple algorithm that computes combined fuel efficiency for your particular driving habits for every car for which the EPA provides fuel efficiency estimates.

Shazam!  Here are your top 5 fuel efficiency choices.

Brilliant! I think I am the second coming of Steve Jobs, perhaps Apple will call...

1 comment:

Jeff Alworth said...

There's another issue with the hybrid for your hypothetical coder to put into his model: trip length. Hybrids take a little while to charge up the battery before it can begin to pull its weight. The first few miles, a car like the Prius gets about 20 mpg. If you're taking short trips of less than five miles and letting your car sit very long, you're losing efficiency (far more, it turns out, than on the highway).