Fuelishness! -- The FuelClinic.com Blog

BrightFleet Mentioned at Fleet Blogs

Steve Fowler’s new blog Fuel Hardy has a great post about the BrightFleet.com‘s Hazard Perception Evaluation titled:

Are your drivers paying attention? It could be costly!

…I gave BrightFleet a call and was speaking with Michael Bragg who is obviously excited about driver training. He offered and I accepted his challenge and went through a demo of their on-line driver training. I was surprised at how real it all was.You actually “drive” down the street as different real life situations unfold. I found the program to be both fun to do and very enlightening. The fun part is important as it makes you want to do it. As for being enlightened let’s just say it was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be…

It was great talking with Steve about BrightFleet and his 360FuelCard programs that help companies reduce their fuel costs while providing an environmental edge.



“FuelClinic Fleet Systems” is now BrightFleet.com

BrightFleetWashington DC – Dec. 13th, 2010 – Compendium Software Systems, LLC announced today the release of BrightFleet.com™ http://www.brightfleet.com, marking a change in branding for all products previously available under the FuelClinic Fleet™ Systems brand.

BrightFleet’s™ mission is to provide a globally-available risk identification and mitigation system, all in one easily administered and affordable solution available immediately for fleets of any size and type.

“Our state-of-the-art Hazard Perception Evaluation application is a predictive behavior analysis tool designed to identify a fleet’s high risk drivers based on their ability to identify dangerous situations that happen every day on our roadways”, said Michael Bragg of Compendium Software Systems, the company behind the BrightFleet™ brand.

While BrightFleet™ will focus solely on providing advanced technologies to fleet operators on a global scale, FuelClinic™ http://www.fuelclinic.com will continue to focus on providing motorists fuel efficiency improving eco-driving advice, techniques, and progress-tracking software.

“We love the FuelClinic community, and plan to continue to increase the level of service we provide to the eco-drivers there”, said Bragg. “We also relize that the fleet risk management and mitigation products we offer are a more natural fit under the new BrightFleet™ brand.”

To learn more about BrightFleet™, visit the website at http://www.brightfleet.com



City of Sanford’s FuelClinic.com Pilot Program Completes 1st Phase

Sanford, FL – The FuelClinic Fleet System (http://fleet.fuelclinic.compilot program with the City of Sanford, FL has completed it’s first phase, with the collection of driver behavior data from a selection of vehicles from the City’s fleet. The data-logging devices will be returned for analysis and processing using the driver behavior analysis software under development at Compendium Software Systems, LLC.

“The collection part of the first phase is done, and the data collected by the devices will be uploaded to our servers for processing. Based on what we find using our driver behavior analysis software, we’ll make recommendations to the City on ways it can cut it’s yearly fuel usage, helping the City to reduce expenses.” said Michael Bragg of Compendium.

The pilot program is being used to allow the City to evaluate the driver behavior monitoring system, and look for ways to save the City money by cutting it’s fuel usage and reducing risk. The system works by collecting data from the vehicles on-board diagnostic computer, providing the fleet manager a real-world look into how their fleet vehicles are being driven. In this first generation system, the devices are removed from the vehicle and the data is uploaded to a central processing server using a standard USB cable and a bit of software that handles the communications.

Once the data is uploaded, the processing of weeks worth of real world driver behavior data begins. The hub of this system is software that accepts driving data from a variety of devices and sources. It parses the data into a standardized format, and begins to look for trends that indicate inefficient or risky driver behavior. It then compiles reports to allow fleet managers to quickly identify problems within their fleet.

Compendium’s recent channel-partnership with Alert Driving provides clients with access to top-tier online training modules to help mitigate problems with driver behavior or fuel efficiency using proven training tools that are targeted, easy to administer, and affordable.

“Our whole goal is to make fleets of any size safer and more efficient, providing a substantial ROI to clients by getting more out of every gallon of fuel they purchase while at the same time helping reduce accidents and related costs” said Bragg. “We are cherry-picking the best practices and technologies already used in major fleets, and re-packaging them into right-sized systems that any business can afford.”



6,000,000 Miles… and Still Counting

Six million miles. Our FuelClinic.com users have recorded over six-million miles of real-world driving records. Quite amazing.

Every “million mile mark” is a cause for a little celebration, considering the humble beginnings and modest means that have so far contributed to the building of this community of conscientious consumers. All of our members wanting to learn a little more about their habits, all seeking to improve their efficiency – and save some money at the same time.

Some of you have entered a few receipts and moved on, some of you have been keeping records for over a year. All of you have suffered with this prototype site, it’s shortcomings, and my own fits and starts.

Thank you for you time and continued patience as we build FuelClinic into the foundation of a wonderful tool that will help even more people save some money and help improve the quality and safety of our travels for all of us.

– Michael



Congestion Challenge Awardees Presented at 2009 ITSA Annual Meeting

Source ITSA:

ITS Congestion Challenge

The first global ITS Congestion Challenge, announced in June 2009, was open to entrepreneurs, commuters, transportation experts, researchers in all fields, universities, and citizens around the world. Three winners and six finalists from Hungary, Ireland, Canada, the Netherlands, and the United States, were selected by an open global community of more than 4,000 people, including transportation industry professionals and the general public.

1st PLACE

iCarpool provides commuters and other travelers with comprehensive travel choices for modes of travel other than driving alone. Read more.

2nd PLACE

FuelClinic, for their “Eco-System” and “Eco-Driver On Board” programs, which provide tools and certified eco-driving training to improve, track, and manage driver performance for increased fuel efficiency, increased driver safety, and reduced accident rates. Read more.

3rd PLACE

iCone Products, LLC, for an ITS concept to beam real-time traffic information over the Internet to a central web site for use by government officials, emergency response personnel, trucking fleets, the public and information resellers, including media outlets and GPS services. Read more.



FuelClinic in the Orlando Sentinel today

October 11, 2009 · Filed Under FuelClinic, FuelClinic.com, News & Reports, Press Room, Related News · 4 Comments 

Today there is a nice article about FuelClinic by Steven Cole Smith in the print edition of the Orlando Sentinel (Section G2), our big hometown paper.

…In a nutshell, FuelClinic.com is “a driver-improvement system that helps create safer, smarter, more efficient drivers,” according to the company Web site. “In consumer applications this system helps families save money on fuel, reduce [carbon] emissions, find deficiencies in inexperienced or young drivers, and helps motorists become generally safer and more professional drivers.”

Bragg also is working on a professional application targeted at businesses and fleet managers that, he said, helps them train employees, reduce fuel expenses and reinforce safety initiatives.

Bragg said one of his goals is to take the idea of fuel savings more mainstream, away from the traditional dedicated, hybrid-driving environmentalist who makes a second career out of saving fuel. Bragg is not telling people that they have to buy a Toyota Prius — he still has that four-wheel-drive truck, in fact — but he is saying that by modifying your driving habits, your routes and other easily manageable changes, you can save a lot of fuel, and a lot of money… ( read the rest )

Judging from new user sign-ups, the article is a huge hit. I’d like to welcome all of the new members, and ask that you let me know what you enjoy about the site, and what you’d like to see changed or improved.



More details and a video from the IBM Sponsored ITS Congestion Challenge

A few more details today about the ITS Congestion Challenge as well as a video from the conference. Apparently there were 116 startups from over 20 countries – not the 90 that I had been quoting in this blog and in our press release. Some additional details about how it all worked from the Spenser Trask blog:

The challenge from June through August. The VenCorps community reviewed and rated the 116 participating startups on five criteria: the speed and efficiency of their solutions; behavioral impact; safety; sustainability; and economic competitiveness. Based on community ratings, nine finalists were picked for the 30-day Showdown. During the Showdown, community members allocated VenCorps Points to their favorite challengers.

In this video Gerry Mooney, IBM General Manager Fiscal Stimulus & Economic Recovery, talks about IBM’s commitment to helping solve traffic congestion problems and their intention to support some of the innovative new ideas that made it into the final round of the Challenge.

 

This sounds like an outstanding opportunity.



FuelClinic is a Finalist in the ITS Congestion Challenge

August 1, 2009 · Filed Under Eco-Driving, FuelClinic, FuelClinic.com, LinkedIn, Press Room, Twitter · Comment 

Today I learned that FuelClinic.com was selected to be one of the finalists in the ITS Congestion Challenge over at Vencorps.

its-challenge-finalist-medium

What happens next?

Over the next 30 days each solution provider will answer common questions investors ask, share detailed biographies of their teams, make slide presentations, perform due diligence calls and get publicly rated by expert judges.

During the Showdown the community will pick the winner through a predictive market. That means you can allocate your points to one or more solutions. The solution with the most community support wins a $50,000 investment and 50,000 points.  

It’s very encouraging to be selected as a finalist – we are up against some very well thought out solutions, some obviously well funded and nearly production-ready.

If you’ve been following this project for any amount of time, you’ve seen us struggle and change in several ways, always growing and refining the concepts along the way. This is another great opportunity for growth, and with recent partnerships and changes – and your continued support – I believe we have a real chance of winning this contest.

Again a huge “thank you” for those of you who have supported FuelClinic this far!



“Cash for Clunkers” vs. “Cash for Un-Clunkers”

[Updated: New link to “Cash for Un-Clunkers” added]

Far from a model of energy-efficiency, the CARS (Cash for Clunkers) program creates a system that encourages mind-boggling waste of energy, money, and natural resources.

The word “clunker” makes you think of cars with no real value left, in poor mechanical shape, incredibly inefficient, outdated, unsafe, and already a problem for the owner. The government program assumes the clunker is such a problem that the it requires that the “trade-ins” drive-train be destroyed within 2 days, else the dealer is fined $15,000. In reality, there are perfectly good vehicles with lots of value remaining – and can get measurably much better mileage if driven efficiently – being turned in and destroyed. 

Take for example this video of a decidedly “un-clunky” Volvo S40 or S80 being destroyed as part of the CARS program. All of the energy used to produce that car is completely wasted, even if it would still have value in the used car market.

WARNING: This is a surprisingly graphic video – especially if you are a “car guy”. This top-quality machine literally screams as the “liquid glass” solution (used in place of motor oil) scours the moving parts inside this engine, eventually overheating it enough to start a fire in the engine compartment, and puking it’s last remaining ounces of red-hot oil out onto the ground in front of it as it finally seizes up.

Some thoughts on this video:

  1. That’s a well engineered, safe, and fairly efficient high-quality car that apparently ran well when turned in.
  2. It has obvious value remaining (KBB says around $13K).
  3. I can’t believe it ran for over 4 minutes with sodium silicate instead of oil. 
  4. Thank goodness it didn’t puke up that red-hot oil all over the young man as he reached across the engine to put the oil fill cap (?) back on.  

On Wednesday it was announced that the program was suspended – some say it was because dealership couldn’t get their paperwork filed fast enough to not go bankrupt in the short-term, others said it was because the program was too successful and already “spent” all of it’s funding. Then yesterday it was announced that the program would be re-funded, using grants previously slated for other energy-efficiency improvement programs. 

I propose a different plan called: “Cash for Un-Clunkers

Can anyone answer me “why” we should scrap perfectly good cars instead of invest in improving driving habits?



Case Study: John’s Jetta

A few weeks ago Kathy called me and told me she needed a “case study” to add to the new press kit she was developing  – something that illustrated the benefits of using FuelClinic.com from a member’s perspective.

I went to the database and back to my feedback emails, and found a few members who were obviously using the system regularly, were interested enough to communicate with me about the site and ideas or problems they had, and might possibly want to participate in a case study. I sent a few requests, received a few responses, including one from John Guercio.

From logs and emails I knew John had been using the system a long time, and when I asked him if he’d be interested in talking with Kathy he said “sure”. While I knew he was a “regular”, and I had assumed he was benefiting from using the site, I didn’t have any idea how he had been using the system – pushing it to it’s limits, and saving himself thousands of dollars.

Here’s how it starts:

John was used to receiving an occasional $2,000 expense check for his mileage. But when his company put him on a strict $750 a month expense plan, John knew it was time to take control of his MPGs and start paying better attention to the pain he would soon being feeling at the pump.

To do this, he turned to FuelClinic.com, the Web’s premiere online fuel efficiency tracking and driver improvement resource. His main interest was in tracking his Jetta’s miles per gallon for work-related trips to determine whether or not the new stipend was helping him make money, or causing him to lose it.

Find out how well it worked out for John, how he was able to track his expenses, improve his fuel mileage, decide NOT to get that new car he was looking at, and saved thousands of dollars in taxes last year.

Read the rest of it online, or download the PDF version.

If you are interested in participating in future case studies, please send a note to me at feedback@fuelclinic.com – we are currently looking to create a case study detailing how a small business w/ a small fleet of vehicles has used FuelClinic.com in some way to save money, improve mileage, or track consumption.

Thanks John! Thanks Kathy!



FuelClinic at Wired.com Autopia Blog

July 22, 2009 · Filed Under Eco-Driving, FuelClinic, LinkedIn, News & Reports, Press Room, Twitter · 3 Comments 

Yesterday FuelClinic was featured on WIRED Magazine’s Autopia Blog – one of the major player automotive technology blogs online.

Included were some fresh details about our planned eco-driving training event later this summer…

Recent teaming efforts with driving instructor and test driving big-wigs John Henry and Steve Garrod are on track, quite literally. In conjunction with Digital Eye Systems and their EcoRoadCam fleet management technology and the Driver’s Instructors Association, Fuel Clinic is bringing an eco-driving course to Central Florida Racing Complex in September. With a combination of track-time and classroom instruction, students will learn smart eco-driving techniques. The technologies behind Fuel Clinic and EcoRoadCam will document and compare their performance lap-to-lap.

We’ll bring you more information right here as these plans develop.



FuelClinic at CNET

July 17, 2009 · Filed Under FuelClinic, LinkedIn, News & Reports, Press Room, Twitter · Comment 

There’s a nice piece concerning IT tools that help manage your vehicles, including FuelClinic – over at CNET’s Webware.

FuelClinic determines how well your car is managing its fuel consumption. After you sign up for the site, you need only to input your car’s information, tell the service how much you spent the last couple times you filled up, and the site will return calculations on your miles per gallon and how much you will be spending on gas going forward. It’s not the most advanced fuel-monitoring service in this roundup, but it’s simple, which might make it attractive to some.

We certainly are trying to keep things as simple as possible. Thanks for the great write-up Don Reisinger.



Update: Two Million Miles!

December 9, 2008 · Filed Under FuelClinic, FuelClinic.com, Fuelishness!, Press Room · 1 Comment 

Earlier this month FuelClinic.com members climbed past 2-million-miles of tracking and managing fuel efficiency using the tools on the website. Together we’ve stopped to refuel over 10,000 times – buying just under 90,000 gallons of fuel. Continued-usage statistics for the site are very strong, as a good number of our users return every few days to continue recording mileage. Thank you!

No More Chasing Investment (for now)

You may have noticed that development has stalled on new features like the Twitter interface and the training modules. Over the past two months we’ve been actively seeking start-up funding so that we may go full-time in continuing the development of the site. This has taken a tremendous amount of time and effort.

While we’ve received a good deal of very positive feedback, our timing was very poor. The economic downturn since September, coupled with the dramatic drop in fuel prices since November, has made it very difficult to get past the “Gee you have a good idea, come back to talk to us in six months” stage. Overall, it was a very worth-while effort, as continued business-plan development has really helped us find and focus on our core model.

We’re keeping a few investment doors open, but are no longer counting on investment until Summer 2009 at the soonest, and are not actively chasing investment. This means we’ll continue to boot-strap FuelClinic.com development for the foreseeable future, and development of new features (as opposed to seeking funding sources) will again be the focus of our limited resources.



KillerStartups Reviews: FuelClinic.com

October 29, 2008 · Filed Under FuelClinic.com, Fuelishness!, Press Room · 3 Comments 

FuelClinic.com was recently reviewed at KillerStartups.com, a website that collects information about young web startups and publishes short reviews. People can show their support by “voting” for their favorite site – just click the “+” sign under the vote tally near the top left side of the page. Sites with more votes get more prominently displayed.

Read more



MJK Racing Qualifies and Races in National Championship

October 22, 2008 · Filed Under Press Room, Racing · 1 Comment 

While I was away, Mike Kern of Mike Kern Racing (a SCCA GT-1 racing team that we sponsor), qualified for the SCCA National Championships in Topeka Kansas.

img_8557.JPG

He raced as a rookie nationals driver, starting 17th and moving up to 15th by the end of the race. 

Mike said in a recent email: “Well the race was a real adventure.  We started 17Th out of an 18 car field and finished 15Th., so at least we went the right direction.  What a tough race week, if something can go wrong it will, but I glad we went and it created memories for a lifetime.” 

I wish my wife and I could have been there in person for the race, but we had a wedding to attend (ours!).

We congratulate Mike and his crew for his success in overcoming all obstacles getting to and qualifying for the championship, and look forward to next year’s racing season!



About.com: Hybrid Cars & Alt Fuels gets to know FuelClinic

September 26, 2008 · Filed Under Eco-Driving, FuelClinic.com, Press Room · Comment 

About.com: Hybric Cars & Alt FuelsWelcome About.com Readers! 

This week I had the pleasure to answer a few questions from About.com’s Christine & Scott Gable regarding FuelClinic for their website and blog Hybrid Cars & Alt Fuels.

Today I was so happy to see that they not only wrote about FuelClinic in their blog, but basically published the entire interview on a seperate page – giving FuelClinic a much greater chance to reach out to more new users than I had previously hoped. Fantastic!

I originally contacted Christine & Scott to request permission to include some of their great eco-driving tips on our page Driving Tips for Better Fuel Economy. They graciously agreed to allow me to use their tips, and at the same time asked if I’d be available to answer a few questions about the website. I said “of course!”

Christine & Scott are, like me, advocates for the hybrid revolution that is sweeping this country. Their website offers a great deal of depth and perspective into the subject, and I recommend several of their pages as “must reads”:



MJK Racing Prepares for National SCCA GT-1 Class Finals in Topeka

September 26, 2008 · Filed Under FuelClinic.com, Fuelishness!, Press Room, Racing · 1 Comment 

Altamonte Springs, FL — Mike Kern and crew of the MJK Racing team is celebrating their entry of the #55 Delta Connection Academy / FuelClinic.com Camaro in the 2008 SCCA National Championship Runoffs in Heartland Park, Topeka to be held October 6th thru the 12th.

Each year, drivers race in 70 events across the country to qualify for one last, winner-take-all event in October–the National Championship Runoffs. Some of the most famous American racers have won at the Runoffs, including Bobby Rahal, Boris Said, Paul Newman, Scott Sharp and Skip Barber. There is a strong possibility that the next great American racing driver may be racing at the Runoffs this year.

Now that they have secured a spot at the track, the team is busy preparing the car for the race. Working late into the night, Mike and his volunteer crew are burning the midnight oil to build the car in order to have it inspected this weekend in Daytona.

mjk_55_fuelclinic.jpg

“There’s a lot to get done in a short period of time” says Mike, as sweat drips from his forehead on a cool Florida evening. “We’ve just got in the new parts for the rear-end, I’ve got that almost put together now. I’m also adding an oil cooler to it, fabricating the mounts and fittings.”

In addition to fresh safety equipment, adding new sponsorship logos like FuelClinic.com, Mike has spent every bit of his free time going over every piece of this car. And he knows what he’s looking at – as Mike has literally built this car himself.

Read more



In The Press…

August 29, 2008 · Filed Under FuelClinic.com, Press Room · Comment 

Our Press Release from yesterday has wound up in some very interesting places, including some of the major energy related blogs like GreenCarCongress.com. Here’s a sample:

  1. GreenCarCongress.com
  2. Eco-Portal.com
  3. MarketWatch
  4. CNBC
  5. Yahoo Finance – Canada
  6. FOX19 – Cincinnati
  7. The Auto Channel

We sent this press release out with the help of PRNewswire using eReleases, a Maryland based PR company that helps small businesses like ours get their press releases distributed on a national level.

If you enjoy FuelClinic and would like to help grow our free website, please recommend it to your friends, post a note about it to your favorite social websites, or follow any of the links above and leave a comment if available.



From Zero to a Million Miles – Drivers Use Website to Help Save Fuel

August 28, 2008 · Filed Under Press Room · Comment 

ORLANDO, FL, Aug. 28, 2008 – With all eyes on gas prices and fuel mileage ratings, cost conscious consumers are taking control of their own “miles per gallon” by tracking their real-world fuel consumption while learning more efficient driving habits.

Since its public debut in May 2008, FuelClinic.com has assisted drivers from all over the world to understand their fuel consumption and help find real methods to reduce it. Today the FuelClinic team celebrates a significant milestone as members of the website have logged over one million miles of fuel economy records.

“People join the website for a variety of reasons” says Michael Bragg, creator of FuelClinic. “Most want to track their actual fuel usage and spending, some want to reduce their ‘carbon footprint’, and then there is a growing group of small business owners who are using the site to help manage their fleet fuel costs.”

With their fuel pump receipts and odometer readings, members are able to enter their information into the website. FuelClinic then creates a variety of metrics, charts and graphs that illustrate spending habits and fuel costs at a glance. Members can easily compare the different vehicles in their account.

“I think the idea for this site is really wonderful. It is one of those things that seems so obvious to do it is surprising no one had before. I guess things had to reach a point where people were just really paying attention to mileage” said Jonathan from Chicago, who has been using FuelClinic to track his mileage for just over a month.

This million mile mark is just the beginning according to Mr. Bragg, who created the website based on software he had written to track his own fuel consumption. “I’m constantly working on new ways to expose trends in the data, finding ways to make the user interface smoother, and growing the selection of reports available” said Mr. Bragg.

FuelClinic.com is available to everyone on the Internet at www.fuelclinic.com. Visitors can “test-drive” the website before deciding to sign-up. Creating an account is free, and allows anyone to track up to three vehicles. For a limited time, small businesses can create a free account, and request additional vehicles as needed by emailing feedback@fuelclinic.com.

If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview, please contact Rachel Gaffney at rachel.gaffney@fuelclinic.com or via phone 407-637-5782.

Download as PDF



FuelClinic.com to Co-Sponsor No. 55 Delta Connection Academy Camaro for the 2008 SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Heartland Park Topeka

June 24, 2008 · Filed Under FuelClinic.com, Fuelishness!, Press Room, Racing · Comment 

Altamonte Springs, FL (June 24, 2008) — MJK Racing announced today that FuelClinic.com, the industry leader in web-based fuel efficiency tracking and analysis, will co-sponsor the No. 55 Delta Connection Academy Camaro with driver Michael Kern when it races at Heartland Park Topeka during the SCCA National Championship Runoffs on October 12.

mjk-racing-552.jpg
Mike Kern and the #55 Camaro

“It is just fantastic to have FuelClinic.com join us on the car for the biggest race of the season”, said Kern who has remained in the top 5 in points all year. “I joined FuelClinic.com and have been very pleased with the amazing analysis and resources it provides. I’m glad they see the value of our sport, and I think racing fans will see the money saving potential of using FuelClinic.com to help understand and improve their own fuel efficiency.”

FuelClinic.com helps individuals and fleets reduce fuel consumption by utilizing sophisticated and proprietary tracking and trending software to help find patterns in fuel consumption, that once modified, can result in moderate to substantial fuel savings.  FuelClinic.com also provides access to volumes of news and information on the fuel industry and technology development directly affecting fuel consumption.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to partner with MJK Racing as we enter into the motorsports arena to help identify our brand and service.” said FuelClinic.com CEO Michael Bragg. Racing sports have always led the way for the consumer automotive market as innovators in safety, performance, and engine technologies. Sports car drivers like Mike Kern act as positive role models for racing fans, and can help spread our message of positive and effective ways to reduce fuel consumption to as many people as possible.

Obtain additional information on FuleClinic.com at www.fuelclinic.com and MJK Racing at www.mjkracing.com.

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