Need Gas? These Apps Can Help Find Open Stations and Reasonable Prices
Thousands of drivers are looking for gas due to the recent shortage
Are you one of the thousands of drivers scrambling to find gas at a decent price due to the recent shortage caused by a pipeline spill in Alabama? Fortunately, there's an app—or several—for that.
There are numerous gas-finder apps available for iPhones and Android devices. Many list a phone number for the stations, which will save time and valuable gas for consumers who call ahead to find out whether or not fuel is still available.
Be sure to use these apps safely while driving, and do not use them while moving in traffic.
GasBuddy may be the most popular app for finding the most inexpensive gas in a consumer's area. To provide this information, the app relies on crowdsourcing: app users report relevant data, which then helps other users decide where to fill their tanks.
Upon launch, GasBuddy reports the average reported price for the user's location, as well as the lowest price reported and the most recent pricing trend—useful for making price comparisons. Users can decide whether to see stations in a list or plotted on a map; obtain directions to and phone numbers for the stations; and rate the stations.
Like several similar apps, GasBuddy also indicates how long ago the indicated price was reported, which enables consumers to make an educated guess about the popularity of the station and whether or not it may still have fuel. As an added bonus, users earn points for reporting prices and can enter a daily drawing for $100 in gas.
Gas Guru has a simple interface in comparison with the other apps, an advantage if the consumer is checking prices quickly while stopped at a light. Like other apps, it shows best nearby prices either in a list or on a map, according to the user's preference. If really pressed for time, the user can click a "best nearby" button to show the best price the app can find in the user's area. Color coding makes it easy to sort through the prices—yellow for good, green for the best, and gray for least good.
Users can also choose a location if they want to check prices at their destination, and Google Maps or Apple Maps can provide directions to any station.
MapQuest Gas Prices
Although MapQuest has fallen in popularity in recent years, it still has a good fuel-finder app. Like the others, it lists the best prices near to the user or plots them on a map, allows users to sort price displays by price or distance, and is able to search any location.
The user can search for different types of fuel, as they can on Gas Guru, but what sets MapQuest apart is the ability to search for E85 and diesel in addition to the standard types—a useful feature for those consumers whose vehicles require a specific type. The app also provides directions and allows users to build a list of their favorite stations for convenient quick checks in the future.
Fuelzee is like GasBuddy in that it offers daily contests and awards reward points to users who report prices and/or leave comments. In addition, users can track their gas usage—good for those who plan to claim a tax deduction—and can be notified of special deals nearby.
This one is much like the others and easy to use, but it does have one feature that sets it apart: the "cyborg" tool. This tool allows users to hold up their phone and see fuel prices in whichever direction they're facing. When driving, consumers should have a passenger use this tool for them.
Many consumers already use Waze for navigation and crowdsourced traffic information. It allows users to avoid tie-ups and snarls, obtain estimated travel times, and find out where police are hiding. Waze also provides information on gas prices, though the process is not intuitive and the data are often outdated. Consumers may be better served by using a different fuel finder app and rely on Waze for navigation instead.
There are many other gas finder apps available, but these are the most popular. Let us know if you have a favorite not included on this list!