$2 gas won't last forever! New MTC 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.

 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 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."

For more information, read MTC's news release.