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UCR's 'eco-driving' device aims to save gas

April 19, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Gas prices in the United States have gone up again for the 29th straight day. The statewide average is $4.20 per gallon. So what can you do about these high prices? Some scientists in Riverside have some ideas.

We already know that science has helped make cars more fuel-efficient. Now it will help drivers after the fill-up at the pump with the aid of some technology.

Science may be the answer to helping drivers cut down on how much gas they use. Researchers at University of California-Riverside College of Engineering-Center for Environmental Research and Technology have developed a device how that let drivers know how to save on fuel consumption. It's called "eco-driving."

"We want to tell people, Hey, you can still get home in the same amount of time, but were going provide advice on how to get there more smoothly and save fuel at the same time," said Dr. Matt Barth, a professor of electrical engineering.

The device acts like a GPS, but instead of giving directions, it takes in information based on the driver's location. The data then let the driver know how much fuel they're using while also letting them know the shortest and the quickest route to their destination.

"We are working on some more advanced things where cars can actually talk to cars and cars can talk to traffic signals to even get better advice, better information," said Barth.

Researchers say that this technologies could save drivers anywhere between 15 to 20 percent of their fuel consumption.