app-idea-tachometer-0Actually yes, I just searched and I found one or two tach apps with reviews suggesting they sort of work, never mind.

Well no, let me take this a step farther for my app idea gift to you developers: We have speed, altitude gradient and distance apps, guitar tuner apps, tachometer apps apparently, we have gas mileage apps (but with manual data input), how about blending these various things together in order to get a real-time mileage app?

Something that has an instantaneous figure which you can change to various moving averages, an unnecessary-aggression-o-meter, maybe a game to challenge yourself to lower your mileage during your commutes?


More importantly, this could be a way to answer life’s motorist dilemmas, like when going uphill do you save gas by flooring it in a higher gear or going lighter but in a higher gear, does breaking by downshifting (revving up the RPMs but without hitting the gas) suck in and burn gas or not, does running your AC affect mileage, how about lowering the windows, does that add drag, what about tailgating 18-wheelers – is that helpful or do you just think it is when in fact you’re getting better mileage because you’re mimicking an expert’s acceleration, is it worth the so-called risk to shut off the engine when going downhill each time?


Is Wikipedia pulling my leg that you don’t get better performance from higher-octane fuel, is sugar in the gas tank really a bad thing or is that exaggerated, how much extra is driving your day laborers costing you from their weight and wind resistance (you know, for tax write-off purposes), what kind of MPG boost do you get by heavily overinflating your tires and removing your muffler, are spoilers and racing stripes worth the money, does properly oiling your engine actually add drag or should you keep on minimum, is drifting economical and so forth. An advanced tach app could be the key to these riddles.


So, can we get an app for that? Don’t forget KML exporting…

Doug Simmons


  1. 8 years ago, I would have scoffed at that. Now, let me tell you that knowing your real-time MPG is a serious incentive to bring it up. I have a Honda Civic Hybrid, and it does exactly that. Since the area I live in is Really, Really FLAT, in the summer (when I’m running the A/C, which burns more gasoline) I still average about 42MPG in the 10K miles between services (which I keep up with religously). In winter, when I don’t need the A/C, I can get 50! If you pay attention to it, and WANT to improve it, it becomes a game, or a comptition between you and the car. You get a kind of satisfaction when you see that number go up, and when you watch the real-time bar hit high numbers. I love to try to make it hit 60, and when I can coast and it goes over 80 I’m ecstatic!

    If car manufacturers can get us an app that we can get that info from the car’s computer (Bluetooth?), that’d be awesome.

    • Marti: A game for me too. When I fill up each tank I reset the secondary odometer to see if I can break my old “score” (maximum range on a single tank). The prize if I win? I treat myself to a tank’s worth of aggressive driving.

  2. The biggest difficulty is that fuel efficiency depends on the engine load (which can vary with the weight that’s in the vehicle) and the engine’s power profile. So without some sort of communication with the vehicle (like MartiM mentioned), it won’t really work.

    A fuel efficiency gauge is definitely helpful for maximizing MPG, though. My latest vehicle has a rudimentary one, and it’s helped me immensely.

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