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Could the transportation sector be the next to get its own big data button?

At a recent “Energy Data Jam” in Silicon Valley, as part of the Obama administration’s new Energy Data Initiative, one of the most popular ideas was to replicate the success of the Department of Veterans Affairs Blue Button and the Department of Energy Green Button with the transportation sector – applying the common-sense ideas of data standardization and liberation to cars and trucks.

“By engaging in public-private collaboration as we have done with utilities and others in the electricity sector, perhaps we can find opportunities to work with the auto industry to make useful data more easily available to drivers,” wrote Nick Sinai, senior advisor to the U.S. chief technology officer, and Monisha Shah, deputy associate director for Energy and Climate Change at the Council on Environmental Quality, on the White House blog.

“For example, data on miles traveled, gasoline consumption, driving habits, and maintenance history can help improve fuel efficiency and save families and businesses money at the pump while reducing harmful air pollution.”

Ideas that originated outside the traditional energy sphere were also identified. For instance, what if people could securely donate their personal energy-use data for energy conservation research while renewing their driver’s licenses at the motor vehicles department?

Further ideas from the event are catalogued on OpenEI.org which, along with energy.data.gov, showcases a wide range of open energy data sets.