Saturday, July 19, 2014

Another look at Automatic

bunker hill

Automatic is a module that plugs into a car’s data port and monitors driving behaviors and routes and sends the information to your smartphone.

I got mine from the Vine Program. You can get yours for $99.95 at

It logs each trip separately and gives you week-by-week tallies. I use it all the time in my 2004 Lexus RX330, including July 7-12 when we drove to Indiana to spend time with Maria’s family.

We drove to the rural Amboy home of Maria’s brother Kerstan on July 8 and the map above shows our route from his house back to her parents’ house in Thorntown.

The usual route involves taking two-lane Ind. 47 east from Thorntown to four-lane U.S. 31, then north to Kokomo where it’s two-lane state and county roads to Kerstan’s farm.

Wanting to minimize nighttime driving on two-lane roads, I chose a somewhat longer route back to Thorntown. I gassed at the intersection of Ind. 18 and U.S. 31 at Bunker Hill, then drove north to Peru where I picked up the new four-lane Ind. 24 southwest to Logansport where it connects with the even newer four-lane Ind. 25 continuing southwest to I-65 at Lafayette. From there it was a quick hop over to four-lane U.S. 52 down to Thorntown.

I was pleased to see the Lexus averaged 29 miles per gallon on this drive, compared with the EPA estimate for the RX330 of 26 mpg.

The Automatic device is touted as a fuel economy coach because it scolds you if you brake or accelerate hard or drive over 70 mph. I ignore the device’s preference for a 70 mph speed limit because it’s not practical for Interstate driving.

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