Low Gas Prices Won’t Last Forever; New Program Helps Drivers Save Money, Curb Emissions

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) this week kicked off a new program known as Drive Smart Bay Area to help motorists save money, improve air quality and increase safety by following a few simple tips to improve driving habits and vehicle performance. These include linking trips; avoiding excessive speeds; removing unneeded gear from the trunk and back seat; avoiding hard braking and rapid acceleration; maintaining proper tire pressure; getting regular tune-ups; and making sure fuel-tank caps are secured snugly. Drivers who follow these tips can save up to $1 per gallon, improve their cars’ performance, and keep traffic flowing smoother.

Drive Smart Bay Area is the newest addition to the Climate Initiatives program launched by MTC in 2009. For drivers who want to know how their current driving style impacts their mpg, the Commission is teaming with San Francisco-based Automatic Labs Inc. to make the Automatic adapter — a smart driving tool that easily plugs in under the steering wheel of most post-1996 model year vehicles — available for $49.99, which is half off the suggested $99.95 retail price. Licensed drivers in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma counties can buy the discounted devices at http://www.511.org/DriveSmartBayArea(link is external) or at 23 Best Buy stores around the Bay Area through June 11 or while supplies last.

“The Automatic adapter is like a fitness tracker for your car,” explained Ursula Vogler, who coordinates MTC’s Climate Initiatives program. “It communicates with your smartphone to help you drive smarter, and it alerts you to wasteful driving habits. The Automatic device can even diagnose engine trouble, remind you of where your car is parked, or summon emergency response if you’re in a crash, with no subscription required.”

To get Automatic online, watch the instructional video at http://www.511.org/DriveSmartBayArea(link is external) and click the “Get Your Plug-In Tool” link at the end of the video. To pick up an adapter at Best Buy, visit the resources section at http://www.511.org/DriveSmartBayArea(link is external), print out the Automatic coupon(link is external), and present it at the store. Participating Best Buy stores include locations in Brentwood, Colma, Daly City, Fairfield, Gilroy, Milpitas, Mountain View, Oakland, Pinole, Pleasant Hill, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Francisco, San Jose, San Rafael, Santa Rosa, Sunnyvale, Union City, Vacaville and Vallejo.

Automatic adapters work with most gas, diesel and hybrid vehicles built after 1996. The adapter plugs into the vehicle’s OBD-II port and pairs wirelessly via Bluetooth with Automatic’s app to log and display driving details. Compatible smartphones and operating systems include iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, 6 and 6 Plus; iOS 7 and above; Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and above; and Android 4.3+ (Jelly Bean) for HTC One. BLU Advance 4.0, BLU Dash 5.0 and BLU Life Play S are not currently compatible.

Go to http://www.511.org/DriveSmartBayArea(link is external) for more information about the Drive Smart Bay Area program, to view all the Smart Driving tips, and to watch the MTC-produced “What is Smart Driving?” video (also visible in the tab below). Visit the Climate Initiatives program webpage for more information about MTC’s Climate Initiatives program.

MTC is the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area’s transportation planning, coordinating and financing agency. Automatic Labs Inc. was founded in 2011. Automatic turns almost any car into a connected car. For more information, visit http://www.automatic.com(link is external).

John Goodwin, MTC, 510-817-5862
Tatiana De Almeida, Automatic, 415-520-8831


About Kevin

Mayor - City of Oakley, Data Center Manager of Mainframe Operations and Optimization – USS-POSCO INDUSTRIES, Co-Founder and Board Member - Friends of Oakley A Community Foundation, Advisory Board – Opportunity Junction, Commissioner - Contra Costa Transportation Authority, Board Member - Tri Delta Transit and Transplan
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