Prospective buyer: does this really save you money on gas?

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If you can justifiably prove that this has saved you at least the $100 worth to buy it, I will buy it.
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Adam Circle

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Posted 4 years ago

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I R

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It's just a data-collecting tool; it won't actually change anything in your car or save you money itself. The potential for savings comes from making drivers more aware of the costs of specific driving habits (e.g. you might know that hard accelerations cut your mileage and cause wear, but Link can help you identify when exactly you accelerate hard, where, and how often). If you don't actually change your driving habits though, then its information won't save you money.

Link can also cut down on repair bills by providing more detailed car-health information than most cars will report themselves, so there's a chance it could alert you to a cheap-to-fix issue before it becomes an expensive-to-fix one. But again, if you're never in that situation, or you don't act on the information, then you won't see savings. (And compare the cost versus other OBD-II code readers, or having engine codes read by a mechanic, neither of which will alert you to the code right away.)

Anyone who claims to have saved $100 so far with a Link is probably wrong, but that's more because it's a new product than anything else. Over the life of the gadget, if you act on the information it provides, it could easily pay for itself.
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Amy

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I R's reply is very apt. It's true that we can help you save gas but it's also up to you to be open to allowing the app to help with driving behavior change. I can point you to some testimonies of other customers that have been posted on Twitter and here in the community in case that's helpful from an anecdotal data gathering perspective. These are just a small selection:

Gas savings:

https://twitter.com/BrendanRadich/sta...

https://twitter.com/ajt76/status/4007...

https://twitter.com/mjpanarella/statu...

https://twitter.com/laspecas/status/4...

http://community.automatic.com/automa...

Check Engine Light help:

https://twitter.com/justinjdean/statu...

https://twitter.com/waldojaquith/stat...

https://twitter.com/MyMacHero/status/...

https://twitter.com/mjtanis/status/41...

http://community.automatic.com/automa...

http://community.automatic.com/automa...
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Christopher Rozon

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In about 5 weeks, my mpg has gone from 31/32 to 33/34. Small increase, but over the 200-250 miles per week I drive it starts to add up.

Also, I had one Check Engine light that I was able to dismiss without need for action, saving me at least a couple hours lost productivity going to the shop, waiting there or dealing with a loaner car, etc.    Probably $100 saved right there.
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Hayk

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If you don't have an OBD2 scanner, the wireless capability of getting troubles codes read INSTANTLY is worth the money right there. There are very few wireless OBD2 scanners out there, and out of those, I can't think of one that coaches you on driving more efficiently, keeps track of your fuel spendings, uses position tracking, and notifies your emegency contacts in the case of an accident.
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Amy

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Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts, Christopher & Gary! Really appreciate it.
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Esung

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I did a quick search on my mint.com account for fuel expenditure before and after using the automatic and between my wife's and my cars we are roughly saving about $100~150 a month. After almost 6months of usage the trend is quite constant and even if I factor in the slightly lower average gas price I think it has more than payed for the two dongles.

But like IR said it depends on how you use them, or how you let it influence your driving habit. If you can overcome initial annoyance of beeping sound (and don't turn off the warning sound like the imore.com reviewer) and get on board with the gamification of 'smarter driving score' you may notice the difference as well. That is unless you are already a very smart and efficient driver or course, and your mileage would literally vary. :-)
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Amy

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That is awesome to hear, Esung!
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Noah

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For me it doesn't. My drive score is always in the low 30s which puts me in the bottom 3% of automatic drivers.
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Noah

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But even when I hit a score of 80 I'm still in the lower 27%. I can't help but wonder if people who never drive after setting their link are somehow sitting at 100% skewing the rest of the stats.
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Hayk

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I find it very easy to hit 98-100, but then I've always been aware of how my driving style affected fuel economy and how I could maximize my car's efficiency.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but if you don't drive with the Automatic, it doesn't give you 100 for those days. It only calculates the days that it's on.
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Esung

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I don't get such a good score either myself (80s when lucky, or 60s when not) on my prius, whereas I do get almost 100 on a minivan. Truth is I don't really care much. It's a relative ranking and there must be really good drivers in the world but I'm happy as a puppy as long as I save gas and drive 'relatively' better than before. (To my suspicion automatic is a bit harsher on prius with digital speedometer, cause I hear beeps a lot more on prius than mini van. I hope that changes as they improve their algorithm.)
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Hayk

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What do you mean by harsher? I thought they only tracked 3 values (hard accel, hard decel, and time over 70). What are you being penalized on, that brings down your score?
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Esung

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Automatic seems to be a lot more sensitive to Prius's breaking and accels. They say it's 7mph/s change that triggers the alarm but on Prius I get warning on pretty smooth breaks and accels. I thought of even videotaping the speedometer and alarm sound to see if I'm getting a fair 7mph/s standard applied but decided not to bother. Again I'm pretty content that I get 50mpg out of my 10 year old hybrid. (up from 46 range before)
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Amy

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Esung is correct in that the data appears to be revealing that the acceleration threshold seems to get triggered more easily on the Prius. You'll see some folks chiming in about that in this other post.

Correct, days you don't drive don't get scored. We've actually got some fascinating data that shows the average Drive Score of Automatic users going up consistently they longer they use it. So when we first launched, the average was around 70 for most users. Now the average for most users is in the 90s. That's why with a Drive Score of 80 you'd still be in the lower 27%, Noah.

We're going to be evolving the Drive Score and making it even more meaningful for individual drivers. We'll also be refining our thresholds and making an adjustable speed threshold to better accommodate freeway driving.
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Sally Harrison

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled How does Automatic improve mpg?.

There was a quote on the bottom of your home page..."broke my record....424.6 on one tank." How does automatic increase you mpg?
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Tom, Former Employee

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Good question, Sally. A lot of research has been conducted on how aggressive driving can negatively impact your fuel economy, and Automatic provides real-time feedback on your driving and alerts you when you accelerate too quickly, brake too hard, and speed. With this information, we hope that our users can make more informed decisions about their driving habits and possibly save some money in the process :) Here's a related FAQ that you might be interested in checking out. This FAQ also links to the research that we based our fuel efficiency cues on.

Hope this helps!

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