The days of cheap gasoline may be gone for good, but the free GasBuddy app for Android can help you find the best fuel deals in town. GasBuddy is very easy to use: The app uses your GPS location to search for nearby gas stations, then returns a list that you can sort by price or distance. The list is conveniently organized into tabs for Regular, Mid-Grade, and Premium gasoline, as well as Diesel fuel. Clicking on an item gives you more details such as the gas station’s phone number, services offered, and directions (via the Google Maps app) to help you get there.
You can also switch to a view that shows the gas stations and their prices as thumbnails on a map, relative to your current position. Click a thumbnail to go to a page with more details about the gas station. I prefer the map view because to me it feels more visually intuitive than the list view.
GasBuddy has some other nice features like the ability to filter results by gas station brand, toggle between metric and imperial distance units, save searches, and save individual gas stations as Favorites.
I tested GasBuddy in Oakland, CA and soon discovered a spread of 32 cents per gallon between the cheapest and most expensive gas stations in my area (a radius of approximately five miles). That means that I could save as much as $3.84 the very first time I fill a 12-gallon gas tank. Think about it. Here is a free app that actually can save you a significant amount of money on a recurring expense. How awesome is that?
GasBuddy uses crowd-sourced reports from users to provide up-to-date prices, and each price listing also shows how recent the price report is. If you register an account with GasBuddy, you can join in onreporting gas prices for a chance to win a $250 gas card. It’s worth noting that you can also log in to GasBuddy online with any Web browser to access your Favorites and saved searches. It’s definitely worth checking out, as the Website has some interesting features, like regional and national gas price “heat maps,” that complement the mobile app nicely.
I uninstall many apps after I review them, but I like GasBuddy so much that I plan to keep it on my phone. The only thing it lacks is the ability for a user to rate or review an individual gas station. Such a feature could be helpful to warn other users of potential problems such as poor service, unsafe conditions, or bad gasoline. Oh well, there’s always Yelp for business ratings and reviews.
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