Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

With gas prices on the rise, Gas Buddy can help

28

February

Did you ever notice that as soon as the weather starts getting really nice, the gas prices go up? Yeah, yeah, I know...the prices are a direct reflection of market and oil prices, 39864390_65a585e650_o.jpgwhich just happen to go up right before we all want to take trips in our cars. Would anyone like some BALONEY?

Anyway...when the prices go up you still can find good deals on gas because most stations are independently-owned and they want your business.  So some stations drop prices to lure you there, knowing you'll likely also get a cup of coffee or a snack while you're there. If you want an easy way to find the best gas deals, check out Gas Buddy.

Gas Buddy is a web site and an app, available for Android, iPhone and Windows Smartphones. Using the app you can find the cheapest gas in your area and view it in a list or on a map. You can sort gas stations by distance or price and also can view stations for different grades of gas, including diesel.

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The Gas Buddy app and web site are linked to a community of Smartphone-carrying buddies who report the prices which are updated daily. Those who contribute to the community by reporting prices are awarded points, and those points can be redeemed for tickets that go into weekly drawings for $250 gas cards.

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The iPhone version of the app is pretty basic. You can find and sort gas stations, view them on a map, report prices, view your profile with points total and adjust a few preferences. The Android app is much more robust, with the ability to save favorite stations to lists, add a photo to your profile, add a photo to a gas station's profile, get directions to a gas station (through a web browser) and redeem points for tickets. I did not test the Windows version of the app.

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The Gas Buddy web site is loaded with tools for keeping track of gas prices and there are sister sites for specific metropolitan areas. The site for the Tampa Bay area, for instance, is tampagasprices.com. Site design is kind of busy, with lots of flashing ads, but the information and tools are very helpful. You'll find gas price heat maps, data feed widgets for web sites, gas talk forums, a trip cost calculator, a fuel logbook, fuel saving tips and more.

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We only use premium gas in our three family MINIs (painful when prices rise) and unfortunately there aren't too many prices listed for premium in our area. I suspect that's because most people run on regular and don't bother to report the premium prices. Typically though, if a station has a good price on regular gas their premium gas price will be good too. Other than that little glitch, the Gas Buddy app and site look good for finding the best deals on gas and could be important tools as prices continue to rise through the summer.

[Last modified: Monday, February 28, 2011 10:55am]

    

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