Have you ever found yourself in an unfamiliar neighborhood with your gas gauge on empty? I have, and when I do, I like to know where the closest, cheapest gas is. That’s where GasBuddy comes in. It helps you find the cheapest gas prices. You can search for gas prices (and stations) by your location, city or zip code.

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How does GasBuddy collect all of this information? Its data is crowd sourced, which means that users enter the data whenever they fill up at a station. You can see the last time a gas price was updated by looking underneath the listed prices, which are updated by GasBuddy members. From what I can tell, anyone can become a GasBuddy member by signing up on their website or through the app. Once you become a member, you are rewarded with points for reporting prices. The points you earn can be exchanged for tickets that you enter into drawings to win free gas and other prizes.

GasBuddy mapIn my experience, I have not had any issues with inaccurate gas prices. I’ve found that the prices for most stations are updated daily, usually within the last few hours. I’m certain this varies by location with more frequent updates occurring in populated areas.

Since I’m familiar with prices in my immediate area, I don’t really use the app on a daily basis. I find it most valuable when I need to fill-up in an unfamiliar area. Using the location feature, it’s easy to see what the prices are around me, and the map feature shows you which stations are closest and how to get to them. It’s really useful when you are on a business trip or vacation and need to return a rental car. The app can help you avoid those high-priced stations around the airport that feed on uninformed tourists.

In addition to the mobile app, GasBuddy has a good website. It won’t win any design awards, but it has all kinds of useful information such as a trip cost calculator, average gas prices for various regions over time, and fuel saving tips.

Practical mobile applications are the best ones, and those that can help you save money are at the top of my favorites list. That’s why I really like GasBuddy. Even if you’re not interested in becoming a member, I still highly recommend using it. And why not? If the app can help you save a few bucks to fill-up your car, you should take advantage of it.

You can get GasBuddy for your phone by visiting their mobile download page here.