Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Changing Driving Habits and Informed Decisions; The Auto Industry

I am pro cycling, but that doesn't mean that I am anti-automobile. After all I do drive a car. In fact I drive a car many more miles than I ride my bike. In trying to promote cycling I do not want to be anti automobile, but rather focus on the advantages of cycling. However, today I have a beef against the automobile industry.
I have been researching devices that can help you monitor fuel consumption costs and help improve your driving habits. (See my previous blog) These devices are available for just about every car manufactured after 1996, using the cars' on board computer. There is all kinds of information that is tracked with these computers. It seems to me that the North American auto industry feels they should keep this information away from the average car driver. (Some of the European Auto manufacturers like VW have been making basic fuel  consumption info available for years)
Imagine if all cars showed you how efficient you were driving in terms of fuel efficiency and what each trip cost you. Maybe people would improve their driving habits, use less fuel and even drive less altogether!? The auto and oil industry wouldn't like that! Anytime the "Check Engine" light comes on you need to take the car to a mechanic, and they plug in one of their computers to tell you what is wrong.  (usually charging you significantly just to do that) These devices like the Scanguage can give you that same information. Don't tell me that it would be too expensive to include all this type of information in the standard gauges at the time of manufacture.

Why do the auto manufacturers feel they cannot trust a car owner with this information? Seems like another example of keeping information away from the consumer, and not letting people make informed decisions.

I would like to suggest to our politicians that they enact new legislation that requires all new automobiles to have these gauges incorporated into the standard instrumentation of all vehicles. I have already spoken to the Green Party about this and it has been received very positively. What about our other political parties? I will be interested to see which one is willing to take on the auto giants!

I will be ordering a Scangauge for myself and will be happy to lend it to people to see how it works.

If you read the reviews of the aftermarket devices available now (Like Scangauge and Econodriver) you will see that people find it changes their driving habits for the better. It's part of the solution!

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