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8 Online Tools to Help Save You Energy

Map showing alternative fueling stations across the United States.
Photo: Use the Alternative Fueling Station Locator to find alternative fueling stations near an address or ZIP code or along a route in the United States.

When it comes to improving energy efficiency, there are a lot of questions homeowners should ask first. Be sure that you are getting the biggest bang for your buck by doing some research before taking on a home improvement project.

Fortunately, several tools and calculators are available onl to help people save energy and money. We've rounded up some of the best online tools to make your energy upgrade research easier. Start by asking yourself the questions below to figure out how to prioritize based on your personal situation.

QUESTIONTOOL OR CALCULATORINFORMATION
What appliances or electronics are using the most energy in my house?

Energy Saver's Home Appliance and Electronic Device Energy Use Calculator

Estimate your annual energy use and cost to operate more than 50 common household products
How does my energy usage compare to others across the country? Energy Star's Home Energy Yardstick This home assessment tool uses your last 12 months of utility bills to score your household efficiency on a scale of 1 to 10 in comparison to similar homes.
What energy-saving upgrades make the most sense based on my local climate and energy prices? Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Home Energy Saver Enter information about your house to get a customized list of energy savings recommendations.
How much can I expect to save by upgrading to energy efficient products? Energy Department's Energy- and Cost-Savings Calculators Understand payback periods for various products based on capacity, energy costs, hours of use, and efficiency levels.
What tax credits, rebates, and savings are available for any upgrades I make? Energy Department's Database of Incentives Search for federal, state, and local incentives to offset the cost of energy efficient improvements and renewable energy technologies in your home.

Which car should I take?

FuelEconomy.gov’s Trip Calculator

Drivers with more than one vehicle in their garage can determine which will be the best for their trip.

Is there a more cost-effective and energy efficient vehicle that would be right for me? Energy Department's Vehicle Cost Calculator Compare emissions and lifetime operating costs of specific vehicle models, including conventional cars and trucks, as well as vehicles running on alternative fuels, such as electricity, ethanol, natural gas, or biodiesel.
Where can I get fuel for my non-gasoline-powered car? Energy Department's Alternative Fueling Station Locator

Find more than 16,000 public alternative fuel and charging stations across the country.

Whether you decide to unplug your coffee maker, upgrade your insulation, invest in smart home technologies, or just use less gas on a road trip, we hope that these tools allow you to make the right choice for your budget.

*This blog originally appeared on the Energy Saver website.

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They’re Here! Station Locator Android App and Mobile Trip Calculator

A photo of a person holding a smart phone with a map pulled up.

What's new for Clean Cities mobile tools and resources?

Two new mobile tools have recently become available:

  • Station Locator app for Android: Android users can now access the Station Locator app through the Google Play store. As with the original iPhone app version, users can access the Station Locator from their mobile device and find the 20 closest stations within a 30-mile radius. Results display either on a map or in a list with station addresses, phone numbers, and hours of operation. Also available for iPhone from the iTunes store.

 

  • Trip Calculator mobile page: FuelEconomy.gov recently launched a mobile web page version of their popular Trip Calculator tool. This page allows users to easily calculate fuel economy for a trip while on the go.

Other Mobile Resources

  • AFDC Station Locator mobile page: If you’d rather not use an app, the Station Locator mobile page provides an easy way to view alternative fueling station information on your smartphone screen, regardless of the type of mobile device used. Users can access the Station Locator by navigating to this link in an internet browser.

 

  • Find-a-Car app (Android and iPhone): The Find-a-Car app allows users to view the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy ratings, fuel cost estimates, and safety ratings for new and used cars and trucks. The app also allows users to input driving habits to personalize results, and to scan QR codes on window stickers while car shopping to assist in comparing vehicles. The app is available to download on the Google Play store and download on the iTunes store.

 

  • Find and Compare Cars mobile page: The Find and Compare Cars mobile page allows users to search for vehicles by year, make, and model. Searches can also filter by vehicle class and combined miles per gallon (MPG).

 

  • EPA Fuel Economy Label mobile page: The EPA Fuel Economy Label mobile page explains what each piece of information detailed on fuel economy labels for gasoline, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric vehicles means.

 

  • Calculate My MPG mobile page: On this page, users receive assistance calculating and tracking fuel economy and comparing it with the EPA ratings. To get started, users must first create an account by accessing the tool online. Look for an update to the mobile page later this year.

 

  • Gas Mileage Tips mobile page: This page provides drivers with quick tips for obtaining better gas mileage and shows how much money per gallon they can save as a result.

You can rate and provide feedback on the Google Play and iTunes stores for the Station Locator and Find-a-Car apps. You may also contact the TRS at any time with feedback about these mobile resources, as well as suggestions for new tools.

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Fact of the Week: Idling vs. Starting/Stopping Engine

It is More Efficient to Stop and Restart a Vehicle’s Engine than to Idle for as Little as Ten Seconds

Research from Argonne National Laboratory shows that stopping and restarting a vehicle for as little as ten seconds uses less fuel than idling the engine. Start-stop systems increasingly available on some cars and trucks automatically shut down the engine to save fuel. The fuel used when idling varies by the accessories used (radio, lights, and fans), vehicle make and model, ambient conditions, and many other factors.

Fuel Use for Idling and Restarting

 

Graphic showing fuel use for idling and restarting. See dataset for more detailed information.

Note: cc = cubic centimeters. s = seconds.

Sources:

Estimates from CSRA based upon work by Argonne National Laboratory.

Argonne National Laboratory, Which Is Greener: Idle, or Stop and Restart? Comparing Fuel Use and Emissions for Short Passenger-Car Stops, Argonne National Laboratory, 2013.

Fact #984 Dataset

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