UC Davis Fuel Efficiency Study

Principal Investigator: Sumayyah Ahmed, sahmed@ucdavis.edu
Undergraduate Assistant: Shalini Pyapali, spyapali@ucdavis.edu


Sumayyah Ahmed, Master’s candidate in UC Davis’ Department of Computer Science, works with The PH&EV Center to study integrated technologies and its effectiveness on people’s energy footprints.

The study will use a custom Android application to track user’s fuel consumption and efficiency over time. Onboard instrumentation will communicate with the app to give accurate fuel data., and users will have opportunity to view their personal energy footprint on their mobile devices.

Research Objectives

  1. How effective is a mobile app at communicating personal data effectively?
  2. Does seeing instantaneous effects of their actions (ie their fuel consumption right after a drive) have an effect on people?
  3. Does interacting with the mobile app and their own custom data give users a sense of personal responsibility?
  4. What kinds of driving behaviours are more or less fuel efficient?
  5. What are people’s attitude toward their energy footprints?
  6. How does integrated technology increase or decrease awareness of personal energy footprint?


The PH&EV Research Center [SP1] is conducting a privacy protected study based on fuel consumption in cars. It provides insight on the efficiency of an android app and user consciousness with respect to fuel consumption. This research deals with cars specifically, and takes advantage of the fact that car manufacturers have built communication protocols for engine data, and this data can be sent to mobile devices for display and interaction. Applications like this exist, but most are commercial, and this one particularly focuses on the environmental impact of the driving data displayed.

Users will be supplied with an OBD-II engine scantool device and the Android app, which will receive data from the scantool. Users will be able to see their instantaneous fuel efficiency, as well as track fuel efficiency over time. They will also see their carbon footprint, calculated along with fuel usage.

Eligible Participants
  • Own their own gas-fuel vehicle (2005 or newer)
  • Drives regularly
  • Owns an Android mobile device

Total duration of the study is approximately 1 month. Participants will be compensated.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Sumayyah Ahmed or Shalini Pyapali.