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Old 12-27-2011, 06:03 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi

I'm from the UK and have been reducing fuel for several years, originally by choosing more fuel-efficient models when changing vehicles and in the last couple of years by improving my driving style - hypermiling.

In the last 7 or 8 years we've gone from sporty Audi RS4 (25-ish MPG (UK gallons) Petrol), through Audi A4 (40-ish Diesel), Volkswagen Scirocco (60-ish Diesel) and about to change to Volkswagen Golf GT Blue Motion (should be about 80-ish and still sub-10 second sporty 0-60 MPH acceleration - although not at 80MPG I expect!)

We also have a Renault Espace 2.2 litre diesel (people carrier) which does fewer miles, but has good "form" when hypermiling. Used to get 30 mpg in my old driving style, quite often get 45 now, and 40 mpg is now fairly normal.

I'd like to have better knowledge about my performance, I'm pretty Geeky like that, and as such I would like to know fuel usage, and whether coasting or not, at given GPS locations. On routes I do regularly I know that the speed for Bend-A is X-MPH and that I have to start costing from speed Y-MPH at point Z along the route ... I'm sure you all do this too ... but I would like to record all that and try different scenarios along my route.

Most of our driving is on local country lanes, so the skill for hypermiling is predominantly knowing that the next bend is Speed-X and the Point-Z at which to start coasting. We do have a bit of commuting in traffic (the new Golf will have engine-stop when Neutral selected in stationary traffic), and we do some motorway/freeway cruising on longer journeys (although, in the UK, it is rare to be on a motorway/freeway journey and not get stuck in either slow or stationary traffic)

I've read lots of posts, but some/many for several years ago, and I have some questions - apologies if they have been answered in threads that I have not yet found:

1a) I see the ScanGauge touted here; my vehicles have both Trip-journey and Instant MPG, Average MPG, Distance etc. Does ScanGauge add a lot to this?

1b) I don't use the instant MPG readout, it jumps around all over the place (take my foot off accelerator and I'm instantly doing 200MPG regardless of speed and whether on the flat or coming down a mountain road!). Am I missing something here in terms of being able to "tune" my driving style?

2) I see that ScanGauge needs calibration from full fuel-tank to refill. Sounds fine. My Speedometer is pretty optimistic (+3-4MPH compared to my SatNav), thus I have little faith in the accuracy of my Odometer - does that matter? or should I just consider using ScanGauge as a "relative" measurement for comparing one technique/situation with another? (thinking about it I don't believe the inbuilt MPG readout, but I do "trust" it as a relative measurement from one trip to the next)

3) I expect our vehicles have the right sort of modern conenctor for OBD-II [I can check that of course), but what I am interested in is logging the throttle, gear-selection/neutral, speed, MPG, and GPS location; can I get that from ScanGauge? or perhaps take a data feed from ScanGauge and combine with SatNav for GPS perhaps?

Many thanks for your help

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Old 12-27-2011, 01:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to the forum;

The Scan Gauge or Ultragauge can offer a lot more feedback and give feedback on many parameters to help you improve mileage.

The instant MPG should jump all over the place. The way to use it is to spend as much time as you can with high readings. Quite often, while cruising along, you will show Xmpg, by adjusting your right foot ever so slightly you can see an increase without dropping speed.

Calibrating the gauge is helpful, but you can also just use it as a relative indication of performance right out of the box. It sounds like your car is equipped pretty well for feedback. An add on gauge can give you the ability to calibrate for accuracy and add some additional feedback such as, engine load and gallons per minute. These parameters can help you to understand how different driving techniques and modifications affect fuel consumption.

Check your odometer accuracy against mileposts or gps. The truth is that improving your MPG figures though, is relative. The idea being that you want to travel as far as you can on each drop of fuel, regardless of the accuracy of the gauges.

I don't know if data logging is possible with the Scan Gauge and I'm pretty sure that it can't interface with gps. All cars sold in the United States since 1996 have OBDII I think that Europe is the same, but I'm not certain.

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Old 12-28-2011, 01:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kristen View Post
1a) I see the ScanGauge touted here; my vehicles have both Trip-journey and Instant MPG, Average MPG, Distance etc. Does ScanGauge add a lot to this?
It (can) add exact cooling fluid temps, intake temps, calculated engine load, exact rpm, throttle position, ... pretty long list, though what it reports depends a bit on the car it's in.

On a diesel, I've found it difficult to calibrate - it gets calibrated to one's driving style, rather than to the actual fuel consumption.
Change your driving habits, and it'll be off again.


Quote:
1b) I don't use the instant MPG readout, it jumps around all over the place (take my foot off accelerator and I'm instantly doing 200MPG regardless of speed and whether on the flat or coming down a mountain road!). Am I missing something here in terms of being able to "tune" my driving style?
I'd say you are.
Of course it jumps wildly - your fuel consumption is varying wildly at those moments

I use the instant fuel consumption all the time.
It gives you direct feedback about the effects of a bit less or more throttle, the grade of the road, ...

Quote:
2) I see that ScanGauge needs calibration from full fuel-tank to refill. Sounds fine. My Speedometer is pretty optimistic (+3-4MPH compared to my SatNav), thus I have little faith in the accuracy of my Odometer - does that matter?
Speedometers are intended to show too high a value - they aren't allowed to read low.

The odometer will likely be off by less than what the speedo is off.

Quote:
or should I just consider using ScanGauge as a "relative" measurement for comparing one technique/situation with another?
You can do that if you want.

Quote:
(thinking about it I don't believe the inbuilt MPG readout, but I do "trust" it as a relative measurement from one trip to the next)
How does it compare to the actual fill-ups at the pump ?

Keeping track of all those numbers is the first step.
I use a rather convenient website for that (which also keeps track of my vehicle costs) :
MPG and Cost Calculator and Tracker - Spritmonitor.de


Quote:
3) I expect our vehicles have the right sort of modern conenctor for OBD-II [I can check that of course), but what I am interested in is logging the throttle, gear-selection/neutral, speed, MPG, and GPS location; can I get that from ScanGauge?
The ScanGauge doesn't log.
For this kind of thing you'll need an iPhone / Android with the software to record these values.

These take the values off the (E)OBD2 port - using an OBD2 dongle connected by cable, WiFi or BlueTooth (though BT is reportedly bad for the sampling rates) - rather than through a ScanGauge.
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Old 12-31-2011, 04:40 AM   #4 (permalink)
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You can also record data to computer with vag-com cable which works on VAG cars...
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Old 01-01-2012, 11:36 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Welcome, glad to see someone else from the UK

Another option is to film your trips - using a cheap camera from Ebay (£15), or your phone in a windscreen mount - and a gauge of some kind. That way you can get a record of your average and instant readings on any journey and compare them. As EM says any gauge, including the built in ones, can be out as they all "guess" what is happening based on signals from the ECU.

There are some videos here.

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