Thursday, September 05, 2013


Mileage tracker

Serial Chicago entrepreneur Howard Tullman this week joined the board of Atlanta-based startup Vehcon, which makes an app that helps track a vehicle odometer reading and then shares that data with insurance companies and repair shops — with the driver's permission.

"The more you know about the mileage, the more you know about the risks of insuring that car," Tullman said. Insurance companies "are all trying this solution where they give you this device and it measures your usage for 30 days, and then we give you a discount if you're a safe driver."

Vehcon CEO Fred Blumer "thinks that'll never be adopted in bulk," Tullman said. "So they've built an iPhone application that permits you to just take an authenticated photograph of your odometer reading and send it in once a month."

Motorists on usage-based insurance plans would then get discounts on their premiums for driving less, as well as reminders and digital coupons for regular maintenance, such as oil changes.

Tullman also is thinking far into the future, pointing out that if electric cars take off, revenue from gas taxes would plummet. And those dollars pay for road improvements.

"One of the things is going be: Could Illinois be one of the first states that starts tracking usage of the vehicles, rather than taxing based on the amount of gas you buy?" Tullman asked. "It's the only way we're going to transfer to cars that are more efficient without the state losing all of this revenue."

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