Phone apps help you find cheapest gas prices

March 14, 2012 3:07:18 PM PDT
With the cost of gas going way up, lots of us are looking for ways to save. And now there are several smartphone apps that can help, so we put them to the test.

There are so many apps out there that claim to help you find the best price on gas. We set out to find the ones that really work so you can save at the pump.

Some drivers tactically plan their route to save on gas.

"It's a big part of my budget because I do drive around a lot," consumer Monica Rodriguez said.

Other drivers just deal with it.

"There is nothing I can do about it," consumer Jake Harrison said.

But there is a way you can price compare using smartphone apps. One that has received great reviews from users is called Gas Buddy. The free app lets you find the cheapest gas wherever you are using GPS technology.

So with the Gas Buddy app, the information is only as good as those people who use the app and update it, so we tested the app for accuracy at three gas stations.

At the Shell gas station on the Southwest Freeway and Buffalo Speedway, the price is $3.95 for regular unleaded. A quick check at that location and that price was verified.

Our next stop was on the opposite corner of the Shell at the ExxonMobil station. According the app, regular unleaded is $3.76 a gallon. But since the price was last reported the day before, it jumped 3 cents more at $3.79. But it still is 14 cents cheaper than the Shell just across the way.

"There is a 20, 25 cents difference at some of the stations around here and you have no idea, no clue why," Harrison said.

Our final check is at the Costco on Richmond Avenue, just a mile from the Shell station. The price is confirmed at $3.48 a gallon. That's 40 cents cheaper, but you must be a member in order to purchase gasoline.

After learning of the price difference, Harrison instantly installed the app.

There are other apps that can help save you time and money. An app called Waze is a social mobile app that enables drivers to build and use live maps providing real-time traffic updates. We put this app to the test and avoided a massive back up on the Southwest Freeway because of an accident.

Finally for those looking for a ride, connect with a free app called Carticipate. With this app, you can learn about people in your network that are traveling to a certain location so you can possibly catch a ride, saving you gas money.