Gas prices have been on the rise in recent weeks, with the weather getting the brunt of the blame. Of course, gas prices are often volatile, going up and down, sideways and sometimes diagonal. This is why gas apps can be so handy — they can direct drivers to the cheapest gas prices in their area.
Most people probably think about gas apps when prices are climbing, since they can help you save money on fuel costs. But they’re useful all the time, whether it’s to help cut down on commuting costs or save on a vacation.
“When you’re on a road trip, things can get expensive no matter what your budget is. Everything from accommodations, food, tolls, activities and, of course, transportation, can easily add up,” says Sahara Rose De Vore, a travel coach and consultant based in Milwaukee.
[See: 35 Ways to Save Money.]
In fact, between gas station loyalty programs, credit cards that offer cash back and gas apps, there’s almost no reason to pay a gas station’s full price.
Read on for more information on features of the following gas apps, which are all free to download:
— Gas Guru.
— AAA TripTik Travel Planner.
GasBuddy is arguably the most well-known gas app, and it’s been around awhile — since 2000.
To use the app, you type in your ZIP code, and gas prices pop up for various gas stations in your area. The app relies on users to report prices as well as data furnished by gas stations, and so while the app is generally well-regarded, it may not always be accurate. Still, it’s generally on the mark.
If you’re interested, GasBuddy will also send you a free GasBuddy card that connects to your bank account. You’ll have to furnish your address as well as driver’s license information and checking account routing number. Currently, the card is promising up to 25 cents off a gallon of what you’ll pay at the pump.
The phrase “up to” is key. You may get 25 cents off a gallon, or you could get less. But it can mean that you use GasBuddy to find the cheapest gas in the area, and then you use the GasBuddy card to get more savings.
If you’re really a GasBuddy disciple, you could sign up for its premium service, which saves you 20 cents a gallon on fuel and sometimes as much as 40 cents (but for the premium service, you’ll pay $9.99 a month).
As you would expect, Gas Guru shows you gas prices in your area. You can filter the gas app, too, by the price of the gas, fuel grade and distance. The data comes from the Oil Price Information Service, or OPIS, a fuel-pricing service firm, and Gas Guru is owned by the Yellow Pages. So it’s another reputable app with a friendly interface. You can also see what’s near the gas station, so if you need to run errands or grab a bite to eat, Gas Guru can help you out there as well.
Are you one of those drivers who always has Waze turned on and are constantly reporting issues like potholes or disabled cars on the shoulder of the road? If so, you probably already know that your beloved navigational app can show you the nearest gas station along with prices.
Waze, which was founded in 2008 and has been owned by Google since 2013, will give you directions, of course, on how to get to the gas station you’re seeking. It also has a contactless payment feature at participating ExxonMobil and Shell stations. So once you arrive at the gas station, and your vehicle comes to a complete stop, you can pay for your fuel on your phone.
AAA TripTik Travel Planner
A paid membership to the American Automobile Association means that if you have an issue with your car, like a flat tire or you run out of gas, you’ll be sent help, like a tow truck or a mechanic. Well, the AAA TripTik Travel Planner, which used to be only available to paid members, is available to anyone for free.
It’s a pretty cool app, which shows all of the gas stations and their prices in your area. The app can also help you plan road trips, which AAA is famous for doing.
It’s easy to take for granted this website, which launched in 1996. While it’s known for being a tool to help you get from here to there, the MapQuest mobile app can also find gas stations along your route, check prices and choose the cheapest option. It also has some other helpful features, like information on traffic, and you can make reservations at restaurants through the app.
[Read: Best Discount Shopping Apps.]
To encourage you to download the app, GetUpside’s website says you will save up to 25 cents a gallon. To get your savings, though, you’ll have to take a photo of your receipt in the app. That may sound like a pain, but unlike the GasBuddy card, you don’t have to furnish your bank account information.
Also, it’s worth noting that GetUpside has a feature called “check in,” where sometimes you don’t have to take a photo of the receipt and you pay with a saved card in a couple of clicks.
The app can also help you save on groceries (up to 15%) and restaurants (up to 35%). You get your cash back through PayPal, a check or a digital gift card. It should be noted that there’s a $1 fee for withdrawing from PayPal or getting a check (you can avoid the fee in a few ways, such as by referring a friend to GetUpside).You can only get digital gift cards in whole dollar amounts.
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