One man’s crusade to help you hack your car could help you save thousands of dollars a year in fuel costs. NY1's Adam Balkin filed the following report.
This man is showing a crowd in Times Square how he can, in just a few seconds with a software upgrade, convert this gasoline powered Chevy Cruze into a Flex Fuel vehicle, and he wants you to consider doing the same to your car.
“Right now, we’re connecting directly to the car computer and we’re actually looking at the software and I’m displaying to people exactly what I’ve found. This vehicle can actually run off of a blend of three different liquid fuels: methanol which is currently $1.20 per gallon, ethanol, or gasoline or any blends in between," says John Brackett of PUMP.
John Brackett is doing this to help promote a documentary he helped make with the Fuels Freedom Foundation called “PUMP,” looking into why the U.S. isn’t taking better advantage of cleaner burning, less expensive alternative fuels.
“Basically my research started about three years ago and we started looking at various GM cars and we found that when you look at the software in the car’s computer, they already had Flex Fuel capabilities and it was purposely turned off. They took that choice away from us," Brackett says.
While they appear to be his biggest target, Brackett insists GM isn’t alone—that you’ll find similar stories at many if not most of the world’s major car manufacturers.
So, what does a big car company like GM think about this issue and the idea of people converting their cars all on their own?
GM didn't directly address any of the issues being raised but did give us a statement reaffirming its commitment to alternative fuels saying, “Of the 14 million Flex Fuel vehicles on the road in North America today, more than 8.5 million of them are GM Flex Fuel vehicles. And, in advance of higher ethanol blends, GM was the first automaker to make the necessary hardware and software control changes to vehicles starting with the 2012 model year.”
Still, Brackett insists if you convert your car yourself, you could be saving on average $2,000- 4,000 per year per car in fuel costs.