Having just returned from a lovely family road trip to Sedona, Arizona, I have discovered just how much fuel prices can make or break our plans. If I have to pay so much for gas, I won’t have enough left over for attractions or fun. Fortunately, there are some apps that can help find the least expensive gas available nearby.
GasBuddy is probably the most popular app for finding cheap gas. I’m sure at least some of its popularity is that it’s free so in spite of not having all the features of some other apps, it works well enough for its price. It works by creating a community of users who report gas prices in their area. For every gas price a person reports, he is given points toward a prize drawing. GasBuddy then makes these reported prices available to other users. When I checked my area, it gave me gas prices for 10 different stations with the most recent reported 59 minutes earlier through the latest of 31 hours earlier.
The SmartFuel iPhone app uses data from the Oil Price Information Service, which makes it pretty accurate. In fact, it claims to be the most accurate. The three gas stations I checked in my area were spot on so I can’t negate that claim. The only drawbacks that I could see is that one needs to purchase a subscription to use it. The subscription is not expensive, though, and could save the subscriber more than the subscription price in the long run. The other drawback is that it is only available for iOS users so I could only use it on my iPad and not on my Android phone.
One other app that is worth a mention is RoadAhead, also for iOS users. While not simply a “cheap gas” app, it does show what gas stations are on the interstate exits ahead and sometimes includes pricing. What’s even better about it is it shows what other businesses are also at interstate exits ahead, which comes in really handy when my 10-year-old is refusing to eat lunch from anywhere other than Burger King. I can simply search for Burger King and voila, it tells me the exit ahead where I can find one and how far it is from the interstate. Suddenly, I have a happy child, which makes for a more peaceful road trip and hence, a happy mom.
I’m always looking for ways to save money on our travels. If you know of other apps for “cheap gas” that you love, please let me know!