20 Ways Your iPhone Can Save You Gas, Energy, Time and Money
iPhone Apps Green Up Gas, Driving and Car MaintenanceThis is the area in which anyone who owns a car can always stand improvement. Even hypermilers can find ever more minute ways to cut back on emissions through driving habits and car maintenance. And considering gas prices, we all want to protect our wallets by cutting back on gas. Of course, it is also a green option as well. The following iPhone apps are designed to help out in this endeavor.
Finding Cheap Gas and Making It Last
Use: Find cheap gas stations.
We've all done it at least once. Drove past a few gas stations, trying to see which is cheapest, and then driving all the way back to the one that had the lowest price, wasting gas to save what might equate to about $1.00 at the most. Thankfully, we don't have to waste gas to find cheap gas. iGas shows you the 10 cheapest gas stations near you based on the most current and accurate data of US retail gas and diesel prices. You can even enter the zip code of where you're headed to find the cheapest gas stations, making road trips easier, faster and cheaper...and ultimately less wasteful.
Use: Find cheap gas stations.
Like iGas, GasBag helps you get to the closest, cheapest gas stations. The plus is that this app is free, and has additional features so you can track your gas mileage and expenses. The logbook feature calculates your miles per gallon, price per gallon and price per mile, so you can see exactly what you're spending, and saving. Additionally, users can help keep the database of prices as close to real time as possible by inputting the price they just paid at that gas station to the database. The downside - reviews show that the data doesn't cover all areas, so users in certain areas may not get search results.
Use: Monitor your car's fuel efficiency.
This is an easy way to track how your vehicle is doing on fuel efficiency. It takes the math out of your hands. Use it to enter the mileage of your vehicle when you refill your tank, and it spits back how your vehicle did on its last tank. Using this is an excellent way to make sure your car continues to use fuel efficiently, and if the efficiency goes down, it may be time for some maintenance or a check up on your driving habits. It tracks over the short and long terms, and even comes with tips on driving for better efficiency.
Driving Smart and Parking Fast
Use: Avoid traffic jams.
Seriously, who wants to sit in traffic? This app allows your iPhone to take a look at where you are, gather info on nearby traffic conditions and display them in a customized listing based on the location, the severity, and how large of an area you'd like to see. This way you know where not to go and are able to avoid sitting in a jam, spewing emissions without actually getting anywhere. Right now this app is for US and UK use only, but there is support for Canada in development.
Use: Find open parking spots.
So this isn't actually an iPhone app, but is usable from a mobile device. And it's also specific to the New York City area. However, it is well worth mentioning because I have no doubt it will soon be an app. This website searches out nearly 20,000 listed street parking spots to tell you which are open, or which have meters that are about to run out. When you're ready to park, you can look up what's available on your phone and head to that spot, drastically cutting down the amount of frustration and wasted gas we experience prowling the streets for an open spot. While this is specific to New York, there is a trend heading towards smart parking meters, such as those going up in San Francisco http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/12/business/12newpark.html. So if not available in your area yet, keep an eye out.
Use: Find your way back.
Ever get somewhere and then not know how to get back to where you came from? Sure, you knew how to get there from the northbound freeway, but, um, how do you get back to a northbound freeway onramp?? BackTrack helps out by letting you save your current location, then tells you how to get back to that location from wherever you end up. It is useful for where you parked your car, walking an a new trail, or, for our purposes here, cutting down on unnecessary driving while trying to find your way.
Use: Track your car's fuel efficiency.
GreenMeter tracks your vehicle's fuel and power efficiency, but it also helps to evaluate how you're driving to maximize that efficiency. Adjusting driving habits helps cut cost, consumption, and carbon footprint. And this app has some cool tricks for helping you track habits. GreenMeter measures acceleration and computes engine power, fuel efficiency and cost, your carbon footprint and how many barrels of oil you're consuming. You don't even have to be driving to learn how to drive better. You can tip your iPhone forward and backward to simulate your acceleration, learn what the app teaches about that driving habit, and implement what you've learned next time you're behind the wheel. The coolest part of GreenMeter is that a user can be very specific about driving conditions to get the most accurate information about driving habits, inputing the specific vehicle make and model, weather conditions, and fuel type.
Keeping The Car Running Smoothly and Greenly
Use: Keep your car happy.
This handy app helps to track fuel efficiency over time, reminds you of the necessary maintenance requirements, and presents all your data in an accessible way. Basically, you select your make and model from the app's database, and your tracking can be very specific. Monitoring your fuel and maintenance is one of the best ways to ensure your car performs at its greenest.