Photo: Sauko Andrei (Shutterstock)
Gas prices are going up, and it sucks. But you don’t always need to live with the price you see—there might be another station on the other side of town that offers cheaper gas than you’ve been paying, or rewards deal you aren’t aware of. You don’t need to do all the research yourself, either.
Your phone might not be overly helpful by default—while built-in maps apps can help you find gas stations, they’re not particularly useful at showing you the cheapest fuel around. But you can (and should) look to a third-party app specializing in saving you money on gas.
Download a free money-saving app like GasBuddy
One of the best options out there is called GasBuddy , which is a free app that is basically like Google Maps for gas stations, rounding up all the reported pumps in your area and displaying their current (or most recently recorded) prices. With each entry, you can instantly see whether the reported price is fixed, or whether GasBuddy has a potential deal with the station. For example, one pump near me currently offers regular gas for $3.59 a gallon, but I could save 5 cents per gallon by sending the receipt to GasBuddy.
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If you view your options in list view, you can see the general spread of gas prices in your area. Around me, there’s a 76-cent spread between all reported stations, with the lowest offering $3.43 a gallon, and the highest costing $4.19 a gallon. There’s no way I’m stopping at the stations charging $4.19 now that I know I could spend 76 cents less by going a little out of my way.
Are there other benefits to GasBuddy?
If you want, you can also sign up for a free rewards card through GasBuddy; the app claims the card can save you up to 25 cents per gallon at participating stations, which account for 95% of locations across the country. Of course, that likely depends on the station you use the card with. It isn’t a credit card, so any purchases made are taken from your bank account in one to three business days. It simply takes off a significant chunk of change per gallon.
How else can I save money on gas?
Also, keep in mind that GasBuddy and apps like it aren’t the only options you have. Big name gas companies like Shell, BP, and Exxon Mobil have apps of their own that you might consider downloading. They tend to offer discounts and rewards for repeat use, so if you visit the same pump frequently, they might be worth a look. Do a search for your favorite gas station in the App Store or Play Store to see if they have an app you can use.
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