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Cambridge company’s new app aims to help drivers save on gas

FuelStar, launched by Cambridge Mobile Telematics, uses smartphone data to help users adjust their driving style.

A fuel nozzle in a car at a Shell gas station in Hercules, California, U.S., on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Cambridge Mobile Telematics on Tuesday announced the launch of FuelStar, a new app that could help consumers save money on gas by showing them how to drive more efficiently.

The app uses data collected from a user’s mobile device to gauge how their personal driving habits influence fuel efficiency, based on research compiled by the Department of Energy’s fueleconomy.gov. For example, frequent heavy braking, speeding, and quick acceleration are all deemed as inefficient driving habits that impact gas mileage, according to the app.

The app also estimates the amount of money drivers will save at the pump by driving smoothly, not speeding, and avoiding heavy braking.

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It works by tracking sensor data such as speed and acceleration from your smartphone as you drive. Upon downloading the app, users input the model and year of their car which, when matched with the user’s driving data, can predict how much fuel is being saved or lost based on driving habits.

Gas prices have soared in 2022. In Massachusetts, the price of gas surpassed $5 per gallon this summer after months of inflation, though it has eased since.

According to Rafi Finegold, senior vice president of product for Cambridge Mobile Telematics, the app was created with drivers’ wallets in mind.

“We saw that people across the country were struggling with high gas prices and wanted to create a solution to help ease the burden,” said Finegold. “By making small changes to driving behavior, people can dramatically reduce how often they need to buy gas – and those savings add up.”

The app features optional audio alerts that tell users when they’re driving inefficiently, allowing them to adjust their behavior in real time. Other recommendations for fuel efficiency include smooth starting, using cruise control while driving, leaving for work early to avoid rushing, and maintaining a consistent speed on highways.

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As more states move toward clean energy and electric vehicles, Hari Balakrishnan, the company’s chief technology officer and cofounder, said that the technology and capabilities exist for the app to work for electric vehicles in the future.

“Energy is energy, whether it comes from the internal combustion engine and gasoline or whether it comes from batteries and electricity,” Balakrishnan said. “So we think that our capabilities will allow drivers to optimize the amount of time between charging and when they’re running out of charge. We’ll be able to maximize the amount of driving they’re able to do.”

As of now, the app is free to download and does not have advertisements or in-app purchases. Finegold and Balakrishnan said that the primary goal of the app is to improve the driving experience of users.

“Our goal with this is really to help people to reduce how much they spend on gas and also, indirectly, help people become safer drivers,” said Finegold.

The FuelStar homepage, which shows gas savings and recent trips.FuelStar

Collin Robisheaux can be reached at collin.robisheaux@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @ColRobisheaux.