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July 12, 2011

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In southeastern Michigan, their warning emails have been ahead of the price jump, and I've been able to get filled up before the hike every time this summer. So that may be a local/regional issue.

I'm going to try this out; just downloaded the app. I love apps that help save money!

Gas Buddy is a useful app for me. I don't use the warning emails. I only put gas in my car about once per month, and right before I do, I check Gas Buddy to make sure my usual station (Safeway with a 10 cent discount) is lower than any other option that is reasonably close by. Usually, the only cheaper option is Costco, which might be a few cents lower after the Safeway discount, but unfortunately, the nearest Costco that has gas is about 7 miles away.

Yes we use Gas Buddy and love the app! We found it useful on a recent trip where found gas about 1 mile off the interstate at 3.28 a gallon vs. 3.70 a gallon for the stations right off the freeway. That made a pretty big difference when filling my 32 gallon tank! It really got me thinking about how the stations were able to charge so much less. Are they losing money or are were the other stations just making that much more? I figured that this app truely equilizes the gas stations and reinforces that they are only selling a commodity.

For everyday driving, I've found that once you've found an area that has consistently lower prices than other areas, it's not often worth it (to me, anyway) to track down and drive to a lower-priced station.

In my case, I get about 28 MPG. The gas stations right by my office are currently priced at $3.55 (these are directly on my route to/from work and require no detour). On GasBuddy, the lowest price near me is $3.42 at a station 3 miles away. At that price, it would cost me about 12 cents to drive each mile, totaling about $0.73 cents to go to that station (assuming 6 miles round trip). I typically fill up 10 gallons (small car = small tank!), so I'd save $1.30 on the tank. Subtract the cost of gas to get me there, and I'm only really saving $0.57. Plus, I'm also losing the extra time I had to spend driving there, maybe 10 minutes if I'm driving through an area with stoplights. Not worth it to me!

I do see the value in using the app for unfamiliar places, or if you are traveling, as @Tato described.

Tato, consider the cost of the land the stations sit on (whether purchased or leased). Prime commercial land right next to the freeway costs a LOT more (double?) than land on streets with far less traffic.

Wow, thanks for sharing! I am definitely going to look this up. With gas prices so high these days, this sounds like a really good way to help other people out, but also save money yourself.

I have an issue because of the the way the postal service sets up the official zip codes and city names in South Florida. Some zip codes are assigned to multiple cities, even though the cities have their own mayors and councils, etc. which causes some confusion with zip-based location apps.

Most of the stations near me are within 2c of eachother on the price; I'll generally just use the Giant Eagle/Get-Go station to get the foodperks (10 gallons = 1% off of a G/E transaction up to 20%); with the foodperks + double coupons + some normal sales, we can stock up on *some* stuff and come out quite a ways ahead. Even with the 20% off sometimes, though, it's still not cheaper than Marc's.

Yes, Giant Eagle around me is expensive.

I think this will be more useful for me on trips away from home etc, because Costco is lowest 99% of the time in my area plus 3% cash back on Costco AMEX. We live about equidistant from 2 Costco's and one nice thing the app just showed me was that one Costco is 8 cents lower than the other right now. I figured being so close and the same chain, they'd be the same price but I guess not. Thanks!

@ Josh Stein: I absolutely LOVED Giant Eagle when we lived in Ohio. Around us, it was 20 cents off per gallon for every $50 spent on groceries. My parents were for some reason wary of grocery store gas, so they let us use their FuelPerks as well. Oftentimes, I'd get fill-ups for free! It was an amazing deal and I honestly have no idea how they did it. Their grocery prices and selection were better than the local Kroger as well...

Now that we moved to MA and don't have the magical store known as Giant Eagle, we usually pay full price for our gas. Thankfully, I recently got a Prius, and my husband drives a Fit, so we don't have to fill up much, and when we do, it's usually pretty cheap even with $3.50+ gas. ;)

I am a proud GasBuddy spotter and user. The mobile app is great for what it is; what would make it a total killer is to give you the lowest prices along a Google-mapped route vs. around one selected area. The way it's set up now, you need to check prices around your origin, destination and points in between separately.

For example, if I'm driving from home (DC area) to Florida, it would be nice to know...do I top off the tank in North Carolina when I've got half-a-tank left, take it down to 1/4 tank in South Carolina, or run it on fumes when I hit Georgia? This would currently require at least a half-dozen separate queries through GasBuddy for selected points along the way, and there's always the chance I'll miss something in between.

Not to take this totally off-topic, but there are a few things about low gas price strategies such as GasBuddy that are especially true with gas closer to $4 than they are at $2:

1) It doesn't make sense to make much if any detour from your set route to chase after a lower price. At $3.60/gallon and 20 mpg, you're spending 18¢/mile on gas plus another 5¢/mile on other wear-and-tear on your car. If you need to make a five-mile detour to save 10¢/gallon...you've spent $1.05 (and time) for the privilege of saving $1.30 on the 13 gallons you've put in your tank.

2) It also doesn't make sense (in hot summer weather) to sit in line in your idling car with the A/C running to save 3¢/gallon vs. what the empty station across the street is charging--yet I see it all the time. An idling car running A/C uses approximately 1.5 gallons/hour. At $3.60/gallon, that's 9¢/minute. Wait five minutes for your turn at the pump, and you've just spent 45¢ to save yourself a whopping 39¢ on your 13-gallon fillup.

I've used it for sometime now with some benefit. But like a previouspost, the zip code issue here in S. Fl. limits its usefulness.

I have been using it for a long time now and update the price everyday for 8 gas stations on my route to work. I almost always check the price and figure out where I will fill up. I travel across town everyday, and the price difference could be as much as 10c/gallon.

I tried GasBuddy or something similar early on when I was living in a smaller town and it was just a lot of work for nothing. A few years later, in a bigger city (Indianapolis, and with a smart phone, it is very nice indeed! At first I was a big contributer, to the point where I was probably being an unsafe driver. Now I rarely submit prices unless I am bored waiting for the tank to fill since they are almost always up-to-date within a few hours anyway.

@MelMoitzen: Route-based searching would be wonderful in general!

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