The longer you mobile coupon, the more you become convinced of your own consumer power to save, the more savings opportunities you see – even in places you’d normally feel powerless against high prices – like the gas station.
If you visited the pumps this past Labor Day weekend, this is probably what you saw:
A series of unfortunate events (Hurricane Isaac and a fire at a major Chevron facility in Richmond) has sent gas prices skyrocketing. According to AAA, the price of regular gas climbed almost 10% in August, a jump that experts say is the largest in the last three years. The national average of a gallon of regular gas was at $3.80 on Labor Day 2012, a significant leap from the previous Labor Day record of $3.67 in 2008. And, while some experts predict that relief is within reach, savvy smart phone users are taking measures into their own hands, with an app that’s saving people hundreds at the pump each year.
I’m talking about GasBuddy, the social iPhone/iPad/iPod app that tracks gas prices across country and issues incentives like free gas to users who contribute the most data. Put simply: users report gas prices at the pumps in their area, while other users can search zip codes or use gps to locate nearby gas facilities and comparison shop from their phones – without having to drive around. Search the app and you’ll see the substantial range in gas prices throughout your area. Here’s what’s going on in my neck of the woods:
As you can see, there’s over $.30/gallon difference in price between the highest and lowest prices at my local pumps. I can use the app’s settings to select whether I want to display the search results based on price or location, but they’re all close enough to make it worth driving toward the biggest deal. In this case, selecting the best bang for my buck will save me over three dollars/every ten gallons I put in my car. If you drive 10,000 miles a year, at 23 miles per gallon, you’re buying over 400 gallons of gas a year. So that means, just by utilizing your best bet via GasBuddy, you could save over 100 dollars on gas annually!
It gets better! GasBuddy utilizes a user-incentive system that pays you for your input. When you download the GasBuddy app (for free) and sign up for an account, you’re rewarded with 100 points to start out. You earn 150 more points each time you add or update a gas price in your area (GasBuddy tells you when each price in your area was last updated so you get the most accurate information at all times). You can earn points for up to 5 price reports a day. Once you have 1000 points (you could rack these up in a day or two just by paying attention when you drive), you’re entered into a weekly drawing to win a $250.00 gas card. Since every 1000 points you earn grants you one entry into the drawing, you up your odds the more you update your area’s gas prices. Not bad!
Here are some recent, happy GasBuddy gas card winners:
Are you using GasBuddy to save big? Have another great tip for saving on gas? I want to hear about it! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!