By The Associated Press, USA February 14, 2019 12:01:23AMHOUSTON (AP) Drivers are using the blink car technology to cut their fuel bills by up to 25 cents a gallon.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) says drivers are using it to save money on gas, with drivers who drive less often paying less than drivers who spend more time behind the wheel.
The blink car system, called BLEK, is used by about 5 percent of all drivers in the state, said Travis Scott, the TxDOT spokesman.
Drivers have been using the system since June.
TxDot is one of the first states in the country to make the technology a mandatory part of the vehicle emissions control program.
It will be mandatory starting March 1, 2020, for all new vehicles and passenger vehicles, and all models built between March 1 and May 31.
The technology works by using LED lights that flash on and off at intervals to indicate a driver is using their blink car.
It also uses a computer system to help drivers determine if the lights are flashing at the right time, Scott said.
The lights have a sensor to measure if the driver is paying attention to them, so drivers don’t have to look up or see the light at the same time, he said.
Drivers who drive for less than a quarter hour a week save up to 50 cents a day on their gas bills, according to a report released Tuesday by the Tax Foundation.
The cost of the technology is about $300,000 per vehicle.
Txdot has used the technology to help reduce fuel use by up-front costs, as well as to reduce costs for drivers, Scott added.
It’s a system that has been used before in other states, such as Illinois and New York, said Dan Dibble, an energy consultant with the tax foundation.
It’s also being used in other markets.
But Texas is the first state to use it statewide.