If you’ve got a gas-powered car and a mobile phone, you’re probably familiar with GasBuddy. This clever app will fill the role that your neighbors and the morning radio disc jockeys used to handle for you -- letting you know which local gas stations have the best prices on fuel.
Whether you’re a seasoned GasBuddy user or you’ve just gotten started navigating the app, you’ve probably learned a lot about the fluctuation of gas prices in your area and the best places to visit on any particular day. But the app may have also generated a few questions about the best ways to make the most of this money-saving app.
We polled several of our readers and gathered the most common GasBuddy queries, then asked Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy’s senior petroleum analyst, to shed some light on these pressing issues. He offered the following answers to our most frequently asked questions.
Using GasBuddy Based on City
Question: One of the great things about GasBuddy is that it can find me when I am in my city, or a new city (while traveling). But suppose I want to look up gas prices elsewhere, for instance, at my mother’s house? How do I search based on a city name and not on my GPS location?
Answer: “You can search either utilizing a phone’s GPS, or you can type in a zip code or city name,” DeHaan tells us. “Also, there are maps available in the app that you can manipulate to look at gasoline prices ahead on a route.”
Using GasBuddy Points
I have earned GasBuddy points by commenting in the forums and by posting gas prices. Now, what can I do with those points?
“The points can be saved, or redeemed for 'raffle tickets' in our weekly drawing for a $250 gas card,” DeHaan says. “Each 1,000 points can be exchanged for one ticket in our weekly drawing. Once points are redeemed for tickets, they're used. For simplicity, we track a user’s total earned points and display that number, instead of the number of current available points they have.”
How Are GasBuddy's Listings Generated?
Does GasBuddy have affiliations with particular gas companies that might put those companies at the top of the list, or are the listings truly user-generated?
“A vast majority of the gas prices come from spotters, but we do get feeds of gas prices coming directly from gas stations,” DeHaan says. However, he adds, listings are sorted solely by the price per gallon.
Changing the App
Any chances you’ll incorporate the Trip Cost Calculator or the Fuel Shortage Tracker into the app at any point?
“We're working on several projects, but we've heard from many users that they love the simplicity of our app now,” DeHaan says. “Because widespread fuel shortages are so rare, we likely won't include it in the app, but keep it as a mobile website for the time being.”
“Regarding the Trip Cost Calculator, we're working on making something available -- either a standalone app or integrated carefully into the existing app,” he adds.
Members-Only Gas Stations
I found a gas station on the app (Costco) that had great prices listed, but when I got there, it was a price for members only. Is there a “notes” section or something like that in the app that would alert me to that if I visited?
Every member reporting prices have an opportunity to note whether a gasoline station is member-only or private in a comments field, DeHaan says. “Many of our users note ‘Member price’ or ‘Member only’ when reporting wholesale clubs like BJ’s, Costco, and Sam’s Club."