As gas prices unexpectedly surged this month, your driving habits should become a focal point in an effort to save money. Besides keeping the tires inflated properly, paying attention to jackrabbit starts and sudden stops are recommendations for drivers to save on fuel consumption – and keep more of the precious dollars in your wallet.
As its name suggests, Fuel Monitor is an app that is designed to help you be more aware of how you drive. Using GPS, Fuel Monitor traces your activity while you’re driving and, after entering your vehicle make and model as well as current fuel prices, it calculates your gasoline expenses in real time. For those of us who don’t own a fancy enough car that can display this average, this app can be a handy alternative.
The upside of the app is its relative accuracy. In my behemoth of a vehicle, when I accelerate quickly and the car downshifts, the app displays a “red” in the Efficiency Meter of the main screen. When I reach my cruising speed on the highway, it changes to “green” to indicate that I’m getting the best I can out of my gas guzzler.
There are also some additional features that are handy:
- “Estimate” the cost of a trip by entering the starting and ending locations
- place a Parking pin on a map so you can locate your vehicle
- save a trip you’ve taken (“My Journey”) and display the efficiency along the taken path (see below)
- in the socially networked world, it’s easy to “Share” your results of a monitored trip via email or Facebook
Though the app is a solid performer, there are some improvements that could be made.
- A manual Stop is required to inform the app you’re done driving. More than once I have forgotten that I began Fuel Monitor and left it running in the background – even after exiting the car and going about my business. A better way to possibly do this is to send a “Fuel Monitor is Running” notification if you’re either moving very slowly (like walking speed), or stationary for set amount of time.
- The efficiency monitoring indicators and colors are too small. Instead of an arc around the big start button, a vertical meter would serve the same purpose and be easier to see at a glance and let the driver remain more focused on the road.
- Some of the <submit> buttons are oddly placed and not very intuitive. For example it took multiple times for me to realize that I had to “Update Vehicle” after all the information was displayed (maybe this is a result of using Apple’s native apps where I don’t have to do this), and Fuel Monitor kept defaulting to a different vehicle.
Note: As with any GPS-enabled app, Fuel Monitor will consume battery life. Although it can run with your iPhone locked, I recommend keeping your iPhone connected to a power source while using it.
Interested in Fuel Monitor for yourself?
The developer of Fuel Monitor is generous and donated a promotional code to be given away! If you are thinking that Fuel Monitor may be a welcome addition to your iPhone app collection and would like to try to win the promo code, enter your name and valid email (which will not be displayed) in the comment field below. Next weekend – March 2, 2013 – a winner will be randomly selected and notified by email.
Fuel Monitor was provided to iSource.com for review. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the “About” page.