What is the best tool for tracking your car's MPG / Fuel Economy?

rollandelliottrollandelliott Solar Expert Posts: 755 ✭✭
https://homepower.com/real-time-mpg-not-just-hybrids?iframe=true&template=colorbox&width=600&height=600

The scan gauge is around $100 is there anything a bit cheaper that works similarly?

Comments

  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 885 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What is the best tool for tracking your car's MPG / Fuel Economy?

    Fill with vehicle on the level. Drive. Re-fill, same pump, same fill level (nozzle shut offs). Then do the math. Can't beat it.
    Ralph
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What is the best tool for tracking your car's MPG / Fuel Economy?

    i used to do it the old fashioned way by starting with a full tank and mark down the mileage and when the fuel is low you go to the gas station again noting the miles and see how many gallons it takes to fill the tank up again. divide the miles by the number of gallons it took to get a rough mpg figure. now if you like to idle your car or have tires that are larger or smaller than the odometer was calibrated for then it will throw it off of the real mpg.

    i tried a meter long ago and it was ok, but was a pain to install. it always read optimistically high on mpg for me, but that was about 25yrs ago. what mine cost 25yrs ago i really don't remember, but it certainly wasn't cheap.
  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: What is the best tool for tracking your car's MPG / Fuel Economy?

    I use a very simple system with my work van:
    On the highway the fuel mileage is terrible, but in town it's much worse.

    I do not want to see the numbers. It gets filled when needed anyway.:cry:

    A meter that tells you your mpg "on the fly" seems like obsessing to me (my neighbour has one in his Mercedes). It will vary a bit no matter what, and if something is wrong that should show up as a noticeable change in the driving.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,311 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What is the best tool for tracking your car's MPG / Fuel Economy?

    you know coot you just reminded me that should you develop a leak in the tank or fuel line before where the meter monitors the flow that the meter won't know what's happening. i also recall the mpg constantly changed for me too. one can also do well watching a tachometer or vacuum gauge, but that is only to help conserve your fuel for better mileage and won't tell you what it is.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,124 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What is the best tool for tracking your car's MPG / Fuel Economy?

    Scanguage II or an UltraGauge is a must have for me. It gives real time info for hundreds of parameters including real time MPG, averge and trip MPG, engine condition as well as a host of others. In addition it can read trouble codes (check engine light codes) and clear them. simple installation, just plug in to the OBDI port under the dash. I prefer the Ultra, about $60 but have a number of Scan IIs.

    Look on line, Ultras are only available on line. By haveing real time MPG info makes you very aware of how to increase your fuel mileage by just changing your simple driving habits. I get 10% better mileage in my Subaru using the gauge.

    Tony
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What is the best tool for tracking your car's MPG / Fuel Economy?
    icarus wrote: »
    Scanguage II or an UltraGauge is a must have for me. It gives real time info for hundreds of parameters including real time MPG, averge and trip MPG, engine condition as well as a host of others. In addition it can read trouble codes (check engine light codes) and clear them. simple installation, just plug in to the OBDI port under the dash. I prefer the Ultra, about $60 but have a number of Scan IIs.

    Look on line, Ultras are only available on line. By haveing real time MPG info makes you very aware of how to increase your fuel mileage by just changing your simple driving habits. I get 10% better mileage in my Subaru using the gauge.

    Tony
    Using a diagnostic bus monitor (scanner) is useful with a hybrid as well, since it will allow you to read battery and other operating details which do not show up on the idiot light displays which are built in.
    Does the Leaf or other electric have a similar/compatible diagnostic bus and connector? You will need a gauge which you can set to add new scan codes beyond the standard ones at the time it was manufactured.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • TheBackRoadsTheBackRoads Solar Expert Posts: 274 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: What is the best tool for tracking your car's MPG / Fuel Economy?

    Fuelly.com

    http://www.fuelly.com/driver/thebackroads

    Just fill up till it clicks, and hang up, record and done.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,124 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What is the best tool for tracking your car's MPG / Fuel Economy?

    No generic scan guage/tool will read all parameters of all vehicles, as many cars have propriitary computer systems that can only be read (in depth) with the proper scan equipment. That said, the amount of info you can get with a Sangauge or Ultr is pretty useful, especially real time MPG stuff, as well as engine temps, manifold pressure etc.

    Tony
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What is the best tool for tracking your car's MPG / Fuel Economy?
    icarus wrote: »
    No generic scan guage/tool will read all parameters of all vehicles, as many cars have propriitary computer systems that can only be read (in depth) with the proper scan equipment. That said, the amount of info you can get with a Sangauge or Ultr is pretty useful, especially real time MPG stuff, as well as engine temps, manifold pressure etc.

    Tony

    The forums for hybrid car owners (particularly Prius) are full of very detailed information about scan gauges and the unique parameters for a particular vehicle. You will find a lot more information on this area in those forums than you can here. For non-hybrids, the fan base for specialized scan gauges may be lower, but I would still search those topics first.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,051 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What is the best tool for tracking your car's MPG / Fuel Economy?

    My HHR has an onboard computer that gives you most of the info everyone is talking about. Going downhill it registers 99 MPG if you let off the gas. Going uphill I have seen low as 15 mpg nut averages 28 to 29 mpg. for me. :Dsolarvic:D
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,124 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What is the best tool for tracking your car's MPG / Fuel Economy?

    Unbeknownst to many, All cars built after ~96 have all that MPG info on board already, the simple Scanguage reveals it easily.

    Tony
  • rollandelliottrollandelliott Solar Expert Posts: 755 ✭✭
    Re: What is the best tool for tracking your car's MPG / Fuel Economy?

    I think I'm going with the less expensive Ultragauge. It will help remind me not to acceleratre too fast and more importantly remind other people that drive my car to save energy/gas.
  • Rick1Rick1 Registered Users Posts: 24
    Re: What is the best tool for tracking your car's MPG / Fuel Economy?

    Use your brain. A pen or pencil and paper helps.

    Write down odometer reading when you fuel up.

    On next fuel up write down odometer reading and gallons of fuel purchased to fill fuel tank.

    Subtract second odometer reading from first odometer reading. This is miles driven.

    Divide Miles driven by gallons purchased. This is miles per gallon no matter what your fancy gadget says.
  • rollandelliottrollandelliott Solar Expert Posts: 755 ✭✭
    Re: What is the best tool for tracking your car's MPG / Fuel Economy?

    thanks, but that's not the point. the point is to have a visual reminder that you are wasting gas when you break too much or accelerate too much.
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,338 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What is the best tool for tracking your car's MPG / Fuel Economy?

    On my truck I have a scan gauge.
    On the Volts they record via on star all the usages, they can be seen for some people that have signed up to this site http://voltstats.net
    Also the tripometer show gallons used and miles, there are an A and B tripometer, we keep the A ones not reset since new to get a lifetime on the display.

    The volts have the green ball to tell you how heavy your foot is in both acceleration and braking.
  • sweetchucksweetchuck Registered Users Posts: 13
    Re: What is the best tool for tracking your car's MPG / Fuel Economy?

    If you have a smartphone, you may want to check out an app called Torque Pro. There are lots of videos of it in action on YouTube. I haven't tried it yet, but it looks amazing. You'll need a $30 bluetooth dongle that plugs into your vehicle's OBD2 port.

    Description from Android app store.
    Measure BHP, Torque & 0-60
    Clear car OBD faults
    View engine data in Google Earth
    See what your car is doing in realtime, get OBD fault codes, car performance, sensor data and more!
    Torque is a vehicle / car performance / diagnostics tool and scanner that uses an OBD II Bluetooth adapter to connect to your OBD2 engine management / ECU
    Layout your own dashboard with the widgets / gauges you want!
    It can use the GPS to provide tracker logs with OBD engine logging so you can see what you were doing at any point in time
    It can also show and reset a DTC / CEL / fault code like a scantool. Helps you fix your car and helps keep repair costs down!
    Torque also features:
    * Dyno / Dynomometer and Horsepower/HP & Torque
    * Can read Transmission Temperatures (vehicle dependant)
    * 0-60 speed timings - more accurate than just using plain old GPS - see how fast your car is (or truck )
    * CO2 emissions readout
    * Customisable dashboard & profiles
    * Video your journey using the Track Recorder plugin with onscreen OBDII data overlay - a black box for your car/truck!
    * Automatically send GPS tagged tweets directly to twitter (for example if you are going on a road trip)
    * Massive fault code database for lookup of fault codes from different manufacturers
    * Theme support (choose from different themes to change the look of your dashboard)
    * Send logging information to web or email CSV/KML for analysis via excel / openoffice reader
    * Heads up display / HUD mode for night time driving
    * Compass (GPS Based) that won't suffer magnetic interference
    * GPS Speedometer/Tracking and realtime web upload capability - see what you were doing and your engine, at a point in time
    * Turbo boost feature for vehicles that support MAP and MAF sensors (VW & Golf / Audi / Seat etc supported)
    * Alarms and warnings (for example if your coolant temperature goes over 120C whilst driving) with voice/speech overlay
    * Car dock support
    * Graph data
    * MPG
    * Able to share screenshots to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Email, etc
    * AIDL API for third party apps, A simple Telnet interface for developers to talk to the adapter, and an OBD scanner.
    * Works on tablet devices like the Motorola Xoom, Dell Streak, Samsung Galaxy Tab and Nook
    Works on any vehicle that uses the OBD 2 standard (most vehicles built after 2000)


    Good luck
    Sweetchuck
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What is the best tool for tracking your car's MPG / Fuel Economy?
    sweetchuck wrote: »
    If you have a smartphone, you may want to check out an app called Torque Pro. There are lots of videos of it in action on YouTube. I haven't tried it yet, but it looks amazing. You'll need a $30 bluetooth dongle that plugs into your vehicle's OBD2 port.

    ...
    Works on any vehicle that uses the OBD 2 standard (most vehicles built after 2000)


    Good luck
    Sweetchuck

    Do you (or anybody else on the Forum) have any information on whether it initially has or can be configured to have support for the additional OBD 2 parameters used by the Prius and other Hybrid and EV models? If so it appears to be a lot less expensive than a dedicated scanner/display (as long as you have the tablet already, that is.)
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • PhotowhitPhotowhit Solar Expert Posts: 4,879 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What is the best tool for tracking your car's MPG / Fuel Economy?

    Since this has been rejuvinated... I'm a pencil and paper fan, if your not a frugal driver I think an extra device isn't going to save you gas, just cost you money and distrack your driving.

    FWIW - Last week coming back from Ft Collins Co, to Junction city, KS, I had a 18+ MPH tail wind and of course it's down hill, I managed the 530 miles on 9.5 gallons of gas! 55MPG isn't bad for my Toyota Echo with 200K miles on it. Previous best was just over 50 over 2 tanks of gas, Columbia Mo to Tallahassee, Fl. To be honest that's the way to do it, set your trip set odometer and record over a few tanks of gas that takes out any variation of tank filling, but I had about a 1/2 tank when I got back to Columbia from Ft Collins (another 290 miles) so I'm claiming the 55mpg...
    Home system 4000 watt (Evergreen) array standing, with 2 Midnite Classic Lites,  Midnite E-panel, Prosine 1800 and Exeltech 1100, 660 ah 24v ForkLift battery. Off grid for @16 of last 17 years. Assorted other systems, and to many panels in the closet to not do more...lol
  • ggunnggunn Solar Expert Posts: 1,973 ✭✭✭
    Re: What is the best tool for tracking your car's MPG / Fuel Economy?

    Um, a trip odometer and a calculator? :D
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,124 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: What is the best tool for tracking your car's MPG / Fuel Economy?

    A scan gauge or Ultra gauge will give real time fuel mileage figures, that can have a very significant effect in fuel mileage simply by giving driver input as to cause and effect. Simple driving techniques can save a ton of fuel if you pay attention to it. Simply having a real time feed back, so you can see that taking your foot out of it a bit, or down shifting, or slowing down a bit earlier can change behavior and ergo save a ton of fuel.

    People drive all around town to save .05/gal, (under 2% of fuel cost) and ignore simple tricks that can save way more. Like inflating tires a bit more, anticipating stop lights better, planning trips, and indeed driving a bit slower. Simply driving 60 mpg instead of 70 might save 10%, and in a typical one hour trip might cost a few minutes.

    Tony
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