The algorithms managed energy savings of more than 30 percent, which could be enough to help you avoid a mid-route pit stop. And it might just get better in real life, since UCR envisions connected cars sharing their wisdom with each other to make more informed decisions.

This won’t help all that much if you try to avoid using gas whenever possible (such as during a moderately-sized, predictable commute). Also, the team will still have to land partnerships with car companies before you get these savings from the vehicle in your driveway. Even so, it’s promising. While electric cars are likely to dominate in the long run, extra-efficient plug-in hybrids could serve as a useful stopgap in the short term.