One of life’s many dilemmas: You want to hypermile but aren’t ready to drive barefoot, tape your grill, wear an ice vest or endure the demonstrated hostility of your fellow travelers as you ‘pulse and glide’ down the road at minimal speed. Or worse, how long do you have to idle before its better to turn off the motor? What gear should I use going uphill? Is it better to brake or shift down in a curve? And does everything I learn about driving for miles in my old beetle still apply to my Toyota? 1.) Dad told me 30 seconds. 2.) No clue. 3.) Shifting down in the curves seems like more fun. 4.) A car’s a car, right? Air, fuel, combustion. I don’t need no stinking journalist to tell me how to get the most out of my car.But what if your car could talk? And not just the VW shiftup light or even your dashboard mileage computer. What if your car could literally answer question one through four and plenty more. What if your car could tell you how much CO2 you’re producing and give you tips on your exact driving style to reduce it? Or, for those people who simply hate buying gas, allow you to buy less?
Enter the Fiat eco:Drive, an offshoot of their Blue&Me; entertainment/communication system. The system will download detailed information about the vehicle’s efficiency and your driving style onto any USB stick which you then upload onto your home computer’s ecodrive analysis software. No more guessing about mileage or driving conditions because your eco:Drive program will score your efficiency based upon the car you are in (currently only available on the Fiat 500 and Grand Punto) and then give you a series of tutorials on how to improve it. There is also an eco:drive online community to share experiences with or, for the more competitive types, make an eco competition out of it. Not sure if the program ever suggests taking your shoes off, but Fiat claims up to 15% better efficiency is possible.