No, it is not a 200 miles per gallon carburetor, nor a secret fuel additive. ValueGauge is a unique electronic display to advise drivers of driving habits that yield the best Value for fuel expense and time and avoid Waste. ValueGauge aids drivers to 1) Accelerate in a fuel- and time-efficient way, 2) Choose a maximum steady speed that is affordable for them, and 3) Slow down in ways that maximize SAVINGS and avoid WASTE of both fuel and time. ValueGauge techniques yielded a fuel savings of over 10% on an urban-suburban test drive with the same travel time.
Miles per Gallon (MPG) or liters per 100 kilometers has been the traditional measure of vehicle fuel efficiency since the days of the Ford Model T. Although valid as an average, a “live” or instantaneous MPG value is meaningless. In the search for something better, I first recognized motorists’ priorities to be 1) Safety, 2) Travel time, and 3) Fuel expense, in that order. Consequently, a more useful measure of fuel efficiency would relate fuel cost in Dollars or other currency and travel time in hours, which can be compared to individual’s sense of the value of their time. I defined Dynamic Fuel Cost (DFC) as the ratio of the Change in Fuel Cost for a Change in Travel Time, in Dollars per hour, and formulated the math (think Calculus here). I then developed and patented ValueGauge, using a microprocessor programmed to gather live fuel consumption and speed data from a vehicle data system, compute DFC, and display to the operator. Broken down to its fundamentals, driving involves three processes: 1) Acceleration, 2) Steady Speed, 3) Deceleration. ValueGauge senses and computes DFC for each process.
ValueGauge yields different conclusions than the standard fuel-saving advice. First, ValueGauge finds the traditional advice to “accelerate moderately, avoid jack-rabbit starts” does not save fuel, it only costs travel time. Second, today’s highway speeds are affordable for most drivers, subject to current fuel price. Third, ValueGauge has revealed the best way to SAVE fuel, that remains undiscovered by the “experts”! When slowing, ValueGauge has found the best VALUE is realized simply by coasting (lifting off the accelerator) instead of braking. Coasting to half of steady speed recovers nearly 75% of the fuel burned to accelerate instead of wasting it as brake heat. The fuel saved is worth the extra time for most drivers. Brakes are for race car drivers, car magazine writers, and sissies!
I drove my SUV in a 15 mile test loop and measured a 10% improvement in fuel mileage by my recommended techniques, with the same travel time. Who knew? Drive Safely!
ValueGauge can be constructed as a stand-alone unit, an “App” for smartphones, or a software addition to the OEM display. A limited number of hand-built prototypes of ValueGauge are available for purchase or demonstration, and the technology is available for license.