New free app promises to save drivers hundreds of dollars at the pump

CAMBRIDGE — Gas prices have ticked down recently but they’re still considerably higher than a year ago.

Many drivers rely on apps to tell them where they can buy the cheapest gas.

Now, a new app developed by a local company, is available to help drivers save money on the gas they’ve already bought by getting them to drive more efficiently.

FuelStar, the creation of Cambridge Mobile Telematics, can be downloaded for free.

FuelStar gathers data about how a car is driven in real time.

“When we go for a drive, it’ll automatically record the drive and about five minutes after we get back the data will be uploaded and processed,” explained Rafi Finegold, Senior Vice President of Product.

Hard braking, quick acceleration, and high speeds all contribute to a car guzzling a tank of gas.

“So, with speed, when you’re driving over 50 mph, every 10 mph faster burns 10%-17% more gas, so when you move to 60-70-80 all of sudden, that’s starting to cost you a ton of gas,” Finegold said.

After a test drive, FuelStar showed that we had two hard acceleration events which reduced our car’s efficiency.

The app will tell you how much you saved, or how much extra you spent, on each trip. It will also keep a cumulative tally about how your driving habits effect your wallet.

“It basically computes an efficiency on each trip, the real insight with FuelStar being that it translates that into dollars and cents. So, when you’re driving efficiently, we show you the savings you gained by not driving inefficiently,” Finegold added.

Finegold said the company doesn’t share any of the data they don’t collect.

At times, the app will give a driver a verbal warning that they’re engaging in a pattern that’s going to cost them more money.

“People spend thousands of dollars a year on gas, and we think that when you actually change your behavior to be more efficient, you can save up to hundreds of dollars a year on your overall gas bill,” Finegold said.

The company says another benefit is environmental because using less gas means fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

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