Gas Apps To The Rescue

April 25, 2011

I’ve owned an iPhone since they were first released. But I didn’t get my first gas app until a few weeks ago when it seemed that gas prices were not going to relent in their climb above $4 per gallon.

Because of that spiral upward, I’ve had to get used to the fact that my gas app is actually there and available. The first few times I gassed up after downloading it, I didn’t remember to use it until after my tank was full. My memory is good--it’s just not very long.

Last week I noticed my gas gauge closing in on empty AND I remembered my app. I pulled over, pulled out my iPhone, and touched the icon on the screen for Gas Buddy—one of the most popular gas apps for iPhone that I could find.

I immediately had the option to “Find Gas Near Me.” I had already set the default search function to “regular” gas, though I could have just as easily chosen “midgrade,” “premium,” or “diesel.” I had also set the search function to sort gas stations based on distance from me. I quickly saw that the price for regular gasoline varied by a whopping 23 cents just in the few blocks around me. That’s a saving of $2.40 for every ten gallons of gas I buy. Considering the fact that this app cost me nothing to download, I consider it an especially savvy purchase on my part.

Before I made my final decision on where to fill up, I changed the sort function so the least expensive gas stations in my area were listed at the top of the results. I chose the closest “least expensive” station, and within a minute or two found myself filling my tank, all-the-while knowing that I was at least saving a few bucks on some of the most expensive gasoline I’ve ever purchased in my life.

No shortage of gas apps

I chose Gas Buddy because it was popular and free. It also didn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, which some apps boast about, but which I didn’t need or want.  These added functions will tell you if a gas station has a car wash, food mart, or ATM. Others will keep track of road trips and fuel economy. Still others will keep you up to date with real-time traffic information. Of course, added features can mean an added cost, but not always.

So if you've resisted up to now, adding one to your phone, it's time to get a gas app. No matter which smartphone you use, there’s one out there to meet your needs, to help you save money on every fill-up.

Take it from me: they're handy enough that once you begin to use one, you won’t want to be without it.

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