Smart Phone Apps for Builders: GasBuddy
(iTunes description: Find the cheapest gas on the go – for free! In one click, locate gas stations near you and see their current gas prices. Never overpay for gas again. For every gas price reported, you’ll earn points toward prize give-away entries. We give away a $250 gas gift card every week. GasBuddy is a community of users working together to update gas prices – help everyone save on gas!)
The average American drives 15,000 miles a year, and contractors drive substantially more and in substantially larger vehicles. A contractor who drives 30,000 miles a year in a F250 that gets half the mileage of an average car pays an annual gas bill pushing $10,000, four times the American average.
Any builder who has suffered many a $100+ fill-up can appreciate the value of cheap (er) gas. This application aims to meet that need by providing real time competitive gas prices and locations. Information is displayed in list format, by distance or price, and by map. Your location is geo-referenced, allowing the application to give you the most hyper local pricing. You can also search by petrol grade (Regular, Midgrade or Premium) and diesel.
The map function shows the price for the lowest grade regular (87 octane) gas, which is a nice feature. That eliminates the need to cross reference the map with the list. The map feature would be of particular use to a builder that travels a wide geographic area and finds his tank low in a city he is not familiar with.
GasBuddy uses crowdsourcing methods, meaning it relies on its users to report up to date information. You can use the application’s data without adding pricing of your own, so the platform is sure to suffer from an abundance of free riding. Of the 50 stations listed near my location, only 24 had pricing. The website says that the data base is designed to remove prices from display 72 hours after the time that they were entered which is intended to help keep the price data as current as possible.
In my local search, price variance was not huge; the lowest posted at $3.56 and the highest at $3.69. At $.13 per gallon, few are going to haul their gas guzzler an extra mile to save 3 or 4 bucks; a 25 gallon tank would cost $88.25 or $99.25 to fill, respectively.
The lowest priced stations tend to remain consistently low-priced, so my guess is a builder can use this application (via smart phone or web) just once to best understand where to get his gas cheap. After that, it loses its value. Still, that knowledge could save a few hundred dollars a year (per truck), so it is useful information, but not on a consistent basis. J