I confess. I'm a freak. I track my car's fill-ups, every one of them,
in a logbook. The gas receipts tucked between the pages show the price
per gallon as well as the total paid for each tank, and a handy little
spreadsheet I created in Excel helps me track my fuel economy. I also
record my maintenance in there. I have two of these logbooks that track
every single one of my Honda Accord's 136,930 miles per gallon. I did
the same thing for the car I owned before this one.
So, when the link to trackyourgasmileage.com was sent to me, I really wanted to love this site. After all, this interactive website was designed to help freaks like me keep track of our car's gas consumption, graphing it on a functional little chart display; it will also export that data in a csv file format so I can import it into my own spreadsheet for my own neurotic purposes. And not just one car, but users can track the data for any collection of compact cars, trucks, or motorbikes in their garage, and it will automatically present them with each vehicle's information in regular text and as historical graphs.
Doing this allows fanatics like me to compare monthly consumption, track our gas costs, and monitor our car's general health by observing trends in economy. Cool! Or so I hoped.
With great enthusiasm, I quickly logged in to the site. Joyfully, I
created a profile and a nickname for my car, and selected my units of
measurement. (US gallons, miles, and dollars. It's obvious this is an
international site, as users can also choose liters, kilometers, and
European money systems.) But as I began to enter my last few tanks of
gas from my logbooks, I noticed a disturbing pattern: The gas mileage
returns were wrong. The 13-gallon/281-mile tank I bought on June 22
displayed 50.56 miles per gallon. Huh? A quick reference to my Excel
spreadsheet showed a more accurate number should be 21.43 mpg. Each of
my preliminary tanks returned some goofy number that was impossibly
THEN, after entering my most recent 10 tanks of gas, something else happened. The MPG numbers were displaying correctly on the handy graph! When I went back in to check my figures, the fuel economy was correct, but the rest of the tank data (volume and distance) was now goofy.
So there you have it: It COULD BE a cool site, if I could figure it out. Why don't you give it a try, and let me know how it works for you?
By Brandy Schaffels
Contributing editor and fuel economy fanatic