Manage Your Vehicle With aCar

I’m what some people call a “hypermiler”. Yes, I drive a 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid and I like to try to maximize my fuel mileage when I drive. Ok, before you start groaning about me being the slow guy in the left lane, I’m not that guy. Driving in the left lane is bad for mileage, so why would I go there? For people like me, keeping track of my car’s fuel statistics is a very useful thing.

I originally started entering my fill-ups and mileage data into a web site (it was 2005, after all). Once I got my first Android phone in 2009, I transferred all that data to an app I found in the Android Market called aCar by developer Armond Avanes. aCar, which we talked about before,  is an app that tracks your vehicle’s fill-ups, expenses, trips, and other services. It was the perfect fit for my needs.

Features
aCar can do many things. Here’s a list straight from the Play Store description:

  • Multiple vehicles support.
  • Support for recording fill-ups, services, expenses and trips (business, personal, etc)
  • Automatic data backup.
  • Powerful searching and filtering.
  • Thorough statistics for your vehicle.
  • Time and mileage based service reminders: Engine Oil, Air Filter, etc
  • Multiple units: MPG, gal/100mi, mi/L, km/gal, L/100km, km/L
  • Move to SD-Card support (Android 2.2 and later).
  • [Pro!] Localized and translated into: German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Danish, Polish, Hungarian. More to come…
  • [Pro!] Quick access to the most important information by home screen widgets: Console, Service Reminders, Predictions, Fuel Efficiency and Fuel Price.
  • [Pro!] Home screen shortcuts: New FillUp, New Service, New Expense and New Trip.
  • [Pro!] Charts for fill-ups, services, expenses and trips.
  • [Pro!] Data import from various sources.
  • [Pro!] Manual and more frequent automatic data backups.
  • [Pro!] Export records to Excel compatible CSV format.
  • [Pro!] Export statistics to Excel compatible CSV and browser viewable HTML formats.

As you can see, there are features listed as Pro. To unlock those features, you have to donate at least $5 by going to the developer’s web site and clicking the donate button. You will then receive an unlock code you can enter into the app and change it to the Pro version. I found it useful enough to make a donation and unlock it, specifically to get the extra charts and export options.

Dashboard
The main screen shows a dashboard of options, which allows you to launch any of the features, such as adding a new tank fill-up, service record, expense, or trip. You can also add other vehicles, set service reminders, check statistics, browse charts, import or export data, and more.

Below the feature icons is a quick view of status and trends which gives you an at-a-glance view of how your vehicle is doing.

Fill-Ups
The main reason I started using aCar was for entering my fill-ups so I could track my car’s mileage. aCar has a simple screen to enter a fill-up.

Every time I get gas, I enter my odometer reading, the price per gallon, and the volume of gas I purchased. That’s all that’s really needed to track your fill-ups, but you can also add more information if you want, such as fuel brand, payment type, tags, and notes. Once everything is entered, just save it using the floppy disk icon in the top right. The data is added to the app’s database and incorporated into the statistical analyses and charts displayed in the app.

Charts
For us hypermilers, looking at charts and trends is an important way to see if our driving style is hurting or helping our car’s mileage. aCar comes with a great set of charts and graphs.

Here’s my Civic’s mileage chart.

Statistics
Charts are one thing, but specific numbers gives you the detail you need. Here’s the detailed statistical report for my car.

As you can see, I’ve filled up 179 times since 2005 and my average miles per gallon is nearly 53. Not too shabby!

Import/Export
aCar has many export options to save your data into different formats. This includes a full backup in its own format, exporting to CSV, and exporting to HTML.

The more data you enter, the more you want to make sure it gets backed up, and aCar has many backup options, including backing up to your SD card, emailing the backup, or even uploading to Dropbox. Very nice.

If you have been keeping track of your vehicle using a different app, program, or web site, aCar can also handle importing that data. This even let’s you import from a few different iOS apps such as Gas Cubby or Car Care, as well as other platforms like PalmOS and WebOS apps.

Predictions
An interesting screen is called Predictions. It takes all your data into account and extrapolates some information about your future numbers. This is simply an educated statistical guess, so it may not be totally accurate, but gives you a good idea of the direction you are heading.

Conclusion
aCar is actually way more than what I need to just simply track my mileage. I have never used its expenses or services features (hence their absence in this review) but judging by how well the rest of the app works, I have to assume those areas are just as strong. This is one app that is a must for me to install whenever I get a new phone, and with its strong import/export features, restoring my data is as easy as pie.

If I were to list one shortcoming it would have to be that there is no web site component to aCar. It would be great to be able to log in to a web site and see all my vehicle information from any browser. This would also lessen the need for export features since the data could be uploaded to the cloud directly rather than into a local database that requires a backup.

But that’s a small nit that is by no means a deal breaker for me. If you are anal about keeping track of your vehicle’s data, or if you are a fellow hypermiler, I cannot recommend aCar enough. Download it for free from the link or QR code below.

qrcode
Play Store Download Link

 

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