Essential iOS Road Trip apps: Gas Buddy

Essential iOS Road Trip apps: Gas Buddy

Summary: You can avoid overpaying for gas by checking Gas Buddy before you fill up. The free iOS app also allows you to report local gas prices for a chance to win prizes. Not bad for free.

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TOPICS: Mobile OS, Apple
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Part 4 in a series on Essential Road Trip apps.

In yesterday's installment of Essential Road Trip apps I recommended the eponymous Road Trip as my favorite fuel-economy tracking app. Today's installment helps you find the fuel that you're tracking.

Nothing's worse that filling up your tank only to drive a mile or two down the road to find a station selling gas 20+ cents cheaper per gallon. This can be quite common, especially in bordering states. In New Jersey for example, gas can cost as much as 20 cents cheaper per gallon than just over the bridge in Philadelphia.

Gas Buddy (free, App Store) is an indispensable iOS app that I check before every fill up. It helps me squeeze the most petroleum out of every dollar and is an essential member of the "Auto" apps folder that lives on my iPhone.

The app is super easy to use: just launch Gas Buddy and touch Find Gas Near Me. From there you can view the results sorted by distance, or price (pictured). Touching a specific station brings up more information (as you'd expect) including a station map and directions that can come in handy if you're lost.

My favorite Gas Buddy feature is the ability to report gas prices. I guess that it's like reporting speed traps in Trapster, there's a fun and social aspect to contributing to the Gas Buddy community. Plus, if you register on GasBuddy.com you can earn points towards prizes for reporting gas prices.

Unfortunately, the current iOS app (v1.0.7) doesn't support reporting prices in both cash and credit, but you can work around this by noting the credit premium in the notes field. No word on if/when that's going to be fixed. Gas Buddy has mentioned some other upcoming features, including favorite stations and filtering stations by distance, brand and time reported.

Avoid overpaying for gas by checking Gas Buddy before you fill up.

To recap, my Essential Road Trip apps are:

Topics: Mobile OS, Apple

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5 comments
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  • RE: Essential iOS Road Trip apps: Gas Buddy

    Only shows one price, needs to show two prices as all stations now charge different prices for cash and credit. Useful, but not entirely useful with just one price. I have to assume the price shown is the cash price. The problem is, depending upon the dealer, and how much he feels he can rip you off for, the difference between cash and credit is anywhere from 5 to 20 cents/gallon.

    Also, what's to prevent anyone from entering bogus prices?
    WindowWasher
    • RE: Essential iOS Road Trip apps: Gas Buddy

      @WindowWasher
      As a GasBuddy spotter for more than 6 years, I can answer the questions you post.

      GasBuddy wants the price that a person can drive into the station from off the street as the price on their site. A discounted "cash" price with a station branded card or promotion can be mentioned in the comments (posting the cash only price will only result in other spotters or the moderators deleting your post)

      The exception is Sam's Club, BJ's and Costco. Since these members only clubs are "members only", their price can be posted, since they still accept any form of payment, as long as you activate the pump with your membership card.

      Bogus prices are typically kept in check by multiple spotters reporting stations at different times of the day. Also, the system will "moderate" posts that seem radically off from the regional price spread, and will not post questionable prices on the regional home pages (but those prices may show up in a search result, where a spotter can then validate or remove it).

      Also, to drive quality and not quantity, posters are limited to the points they receive per day, so posting good data for a few stations nets the same reward as posting junk data for a lot of stations. Likewise, there are other ways of earning points, through their regional websites. Points can be redeemed for entries in drawings, currently a $250 gas card is given away each week.
      M.W.Jones
  • RE: Essential iOS Road Trip apps: Gas Buddy

    Not an 'iOS' app. It is and has been an Android app too. Or maybe my Nexus S is some sort of miracle device...
    zdnet@...
    • RE: Essential iOS Road Trip apps: Gas Buddy

      @zdnet@...

      You are correct. GasBuddy does indeed have versions not only for iOS but Android and Blackberry as well.

      They also have an mobile/touch ready website for most other mobile devices. (While I use the iOS app, there are a couple of functions that are not in it, and I still tend to use the website for posting)
      M.W.Jones
  • RE: Essential iOS Road Trip apps: Gas Buddy

    GasBuddy's websites in general don't support split Cash/Credit prices. The moderators prefer that all posts show the price you would pay just driving in from off the street. For stations that discount with a loyalty or other card (aka the Cash price) they prefer you show that discount in the comments.
    M.W.Jones