And because I didn't point it out, the nice part about having these optional fields, is the fact that they DON'T need to be used. The site can continue to be used just as it is, whether those are filled in or not. They would simply be there for those that are more particular about their data, and know that others are the same and can sort using them if they choose to. For the layman user that are happy with it how it is, they can just ignore it, no worries and no changes.
SirGCal, if you are looking to car salesmen for their opinion on ANYTHING, we all have our doubts about your opinions anyways!
DTMAce brings a good point, but I'll take it a step further. Rather than give us the option to textually input our engine type, I propose keeping the drop-down menu but giving all cars the option of any engine type. Thus you could select a V12 or a turbo V6 for your Pontiac Grand Prix if you wanted to. People will obviously abuse or confuse this occasionally, but it will make it easy to pick out. It might even make people think twice before putting in something that doesn't make sense, and you can always put a big bold disclaimer next to it that says you don't have to input this field. This would not be the most accurate way to collect data, but it would probably be less time-consuming for PB than adding in the available engine types for every new model that gets added to the database, right?
I do think it's a bit disappointing that the new trend in engine offerings (forced induction instead of more cylinders) makes this Fuelly feature irrelevant. The point of the engine configuration field is so that different engine options can be distinguished from eachother in fuel tracking, for the purpose of more accurate tracking between the two -- since it doesn't add anything to the individual's Fuelly experience. This would allow those of us who want more accurate tracking to be part of it, and those who don't care to, don't have to. Plus, if someone doesn't know the type of engine in their car, do you really want to take their data seriously? Most of those people are probably the same ones who occasionally add the odd 75mpg fill-up and never fix it.
In the end (and I've participated in this discussion before) PB has convinced me that we should not over-complicate the site to try to make data collection easier. I think useful data acquisition is easy enough for those of us who know how to use the site and/or ask for help, and PB and Matt have not been inactive making the site better lately anyways.
One other thing which has got me totally confused: the engine type "H4" is available for some vehicles that are not offered with a horizontally-opposed motor. The Hyundai Sonata and Mazda3 are two good examples each with dozens of "flat four" vehicles registered on Fuelly. I think people may be confusing this with "h4" meaning "hybrid four-cylinder" or "hatchback four-cylinder."
Yeah, we definitely need to make our current engine definitions more user-friendly. L4 should be 4-cylinder. I think we were using H4 as Hybrid 4-cylinder even though it has the other meaning you point out DBC. So we have some cleanup to do there.
BDC; I 'NEVER' said I was looking for a dealer's opinion. I simply stated the reaction given after only mentioning this website. That is an enormous difference; So your attempt to be factious failed.
Anyhow; I've already left this area. They have nothing for me here. I was only checking my links to post up my review. If they can't at LEAST add a 'turbo/super/etc.' optional button as I mentioned in the beginning, they aren't being even remotely accurate.
And if you think anyone out there has a turbo/super/etc. and doesn't know they do, you'd be quite mistaken. They might not know the difference between an inline 6 and a V6 but they know they got the 'turbo' option.
And as for the various other items, yes they can make a difference also but not nearly as large as the engine changes. 13MPG turbo to 20MPG non turbo for the same block is enormous compared to differences of FWD/AWD, stick/auto, etc. Hence without some differentiation, the information becomes entirely irrelevant.
OR; you could go a step further and have people insert their serial numbers (VIN) and retrieve the necessary information that way. Everyone has to know their VIN numbers to get their vehicle insured. It has to be on their insurance ticket in their purse/wallet/glove box so... Unless they also don't have insurance and don't know how to read a number through the driver's side window... they probably don't need to be driving to begin with.
Anyhow, as I said before; good luck with your site. Nice idea but falls far from the mark with comparisons in it's current form. Best of luck.