Description: A fuel economy monitor
Main Pitch: "The new way to use less gas and save more cash"
Main Offer: $19.99 for one
Prediction: Unlikely to succeed
I used to believe that a fuel-saving product was a lay-up in times of gas-price spikes, and I once spent months actively looking for such a product. After all, it's a painful problem that's always in the news. But when I did some more research, I discovered that the government is a major impediment to success. (See, for example, this Dura Lube action from 2000.)
Over time, I also thought more carefully about the value propositon of a fuel saver and realized it would be hard to convince people to spend $20 at retail (or $50 on the phone) in order to slowly recoup that outlay over time. It's the same challenge energy-saving products face, and the reason they don't ever seem to find success. "It pays for itself!" doesn't work well if that takes months and months.
This product faces an added challenge: It's a 'nanny device.' Most people are already irritated by those dings and bongs and flashing lights that are constantly nagging them to close their door or put on their seatbelt. The last thing they're going to want is some new device criticizing their driving all the time. You're braking too hard! You're accelerating too fast! It's like paying to have a cranky old lady in the car with you at all times.