Jerrycan iOS app is a good way to keep track of fillups and mileage data.
Have you ever just sat back and thought about how much our smart devices actually do for us? They can act as our wallet, alarm clock, personal assistant, memo pad, task list, music player, camera, calculator, address book and oh yeah, a phone. This list just barely scratches the surface of what these devices can actually do. They are interwoven into the very fabric of our society. Technology and innovation are amazing.
I love apps that are designed to help a user with given tasks, one that can replace other devices entirely or at least to add to their functionality. It is well known that smart home devices such as the thermostat Nest or ecobee help to cost save. So, I thought to myself, is there a way to save money with something I have to do everyday, driving. I have been given an app to review called Jerrycan. Before you roll your eyes and say exactly what I said, “why do I need this, as my car already has an odometer and a gas gauge,” try to think about what these gauges do not do for you. Of course, as I try to get an app to help me better use fuel, to conserve money and to guesstimate usage, mpg data etc., the price of gas bottoms out. Not a bad problem to have, however.
The app setup seems easy. You are initially taken step by step through tutorial pages discussing what the app can do. It asks you to allow for location services and then also for push notification. Once done, it will take you to a screen where you can add your car. Select the year, select the body, make and then model. There are numerous options based off of the make and model. Unfortunately my vehicle, a 2011 Chevrolet Silverado(#2 best selling pickup truck 2015 behind F-150), was not on the list. I thus selected my car is not on the list! Next step enter mileage in kilometers or miles.
Once the mileage was entered, it told me that further data would be available upon filling up.
My first fill was on 12/16/15. Adding fill ups is quite easy and I actually really like the slider feature. When in the fill up menu, touch the slider and move right to increase the price, to increase the number of gallons and then change your odometer reading. Move left to decrease the values. If you notice the fill up #1 picture, there is information called insights and data below this. This information was not available until fill up #2. I DO NOT like the insights feature as I have to guesstimate how many miles are city and highway. For a system using GPS, for a system using locations, for a system designed to save you money by adjusting your driving habits and making suggestions to you, this slider is very unsatisfactory. I will not remember, by the time I fill up next, how many city vs highway miles I have driven. Thus guessing, the actual MPG and cost data are inaccurate. Odometer data are real, gallon cost data are real, filled up amount data are real and paid amount data are real. It would be nice to have a way to keep track of city vs highway miles. I do not know the best system for keeping track of this data.
Without a second fill up, the app was not collecting data, was not calculating MPG information, was not generating consumption data, pollution data etc. It took my second fill up on 12/24/15 to give me any of this information. This generated the picture above “Fill up #1 data.” Until this point the multiple data screens displayed “Statistics will be available after second refueling.” This is a BIG problem for an app. Our world is very transient, on the go, and throw away (I don’t like this, it is just the way things are). People will move on to other apps, other offerings, other things, if they feel that the app is not helpful today. I had that feeling initially, but as I am reviewing this app I stuck with it.
Between 12/16/15 and 12/24/15 this app did very little for me. The one thing it did do (and still does) was constantly send me push notifications telling me to fill up. I had been receiving numerous push notifications, that “it appears that you are filling up and to slide to take a new record.” This does seem to occur on the same time, same place daily on my drive to work. It has occurred a few times with grocery stores that have attached gas stations. As you can see from the picture driving in town sends many notifications. This makes me think that there may be some issues with the location services with either my device or with the app. I have now had this happen 4x, it is not every time, but is enough to be an annoyance. I had to make sure that this data was not shared with my Apple Watch as it rang to my watch when I was driving to work. One would think that the push notifications would solve the problem, noted above, by keeping people interested. However, this would be helpful if I actually needed fuel and if I was actually at a gas station and not driving on the interstate or inside of a store with a gas station near by. This did get quite annoying when I would be on the interstate driving to work and receive a message that it looks like I am filling up (As I am traveling at 70mph on interstate). Push notifications, OFF.
While awaiting the time for my second fill up, macsources.com did have the pleasure of dealing with the app team, via email. They were willing to listen to my complaints, seemed interested in my concerns and have since worked on updating the car list and updating the algorithm for push notifications so that they are not so obtrusive. I have since added my second fill to the program and again the “instances” city vs highway data are weak at best. I really wanted to like this app, to have it to help me with cost savings in my vehicle getting factory suggested 15-18mpg. I do have a motorhome and a minivan, and had planned on using this for road trips. However, I am not driving either of those at present (winterized RV and wife drives the minivan). At present it is too early to tell if this will be a keeper or not. Again, my biggest complaint of this app is the push notification system. Secondarily I feel the slider for the city vs highway is deleterious.
The app designs are quite professional, the sliders are easy to use/intuitive at least with the first two fill ups. I regretfully give this app 3/5 for now. I think it is a great try, I think the app could be very useful. I will continue to add fill-ups to see if this data improves, to see if the app is useful for me. With the city/highway slider it is no different than dividing number of gallons at the gas station vs odometer change to get a MPG. Will this app change my driving? Probably not. Will I slow from 70 to 65 due to this app? Probably not (unless the speed limit changes). For me at present this is a really good/easy way to log and monitor gas fill ups. I will monitor the data with time and see if there is further useful information from this app.
DOWNLOAD – Jerrycan – $2.99 – iOS