Road Trip Tool: A Device to Help You Save on Gas, Drive More Safely

by  Darren Murph | Nov 27, 2013
Road trip
Road trip / monkeybusinessimages/iStock

Driving is never easy on your wallet. Whether you've taken a long road trip, or you’ve found yourself driving a bit too speedily in a bid to make your flight, your wallet has likely felt the effects of all that time on the road. But let's face it: Most drivers don't spend a lot of time worrying about fuel efficiency when they're traveling, or when they need to get somewhere fast.

Thankfully, a new piece of technology is stepping in to take care of that. Automatic Link is a small, user-friendly dongle ($99.95) that works in practically every gasoline-powered automobile produced since 1996. If you own an iPhone, it’ll help you to drive more sanely, save fuel by tweaking your driving habits, and even alert your loved ones if you’re in a crash. Here's how you can benefit from it:

What it is: Automatic Link is a $99 dongle that plugs directly into your vehicle’s OBD-II port, which is typically located just above your gas and brake pedals. You plug it in and leave it there, with no more fuss than that. The dongle then speaks to your iPhone after a simple, 5-minute setup procedure. (Support for Android smartphones will happen in 2014.)

What does it do?

  • Monitors and alerts you if you brake suddenly (which hurts fuel economy)
  • Monitors and alerts you if you surpass 70MPH (which hurts fuel economy)
  • Displays on your iPhone how many miles you drove and how much money you spent on fuel for each leg of your trip
  • Keeps track of where you parked your vehicle
  • Sends an automated text message to three people of your choosing should you get in an accident
  • Showcases detailed information on any dashboard engine lights right on your iPhone, and allows you to personally clear the light(s) if you remedy things on your own
  • Makes ongoing suggestions on how to save fuel based on your driving habits

Where to get it? Directly from Automatic. You can check on the company's website to ensure that your vehicle is supported, and if you're just now realizing that you need to purchase a few gifts for tech-minded loved ones, the Link fits the holiday bill perfectly.

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