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Use Technology to Save Gas Money

This article was written by in Consumer. 13 comments.


The last time average gasoline prices reached $4.00 a gallon, people were agitated. I wasn’t immune either; I’ve commented on the rising prices as well. Although I’ve been thankful that gas prices in this country are lower than many other places in the world, and has prices in New Jersey are generally lower than average, it was hard to ignore the effect on my wallet, particularly when commuting was such an integral part of my working existence.

I don’t drive every day anymore, so I’m not personally affected as much by gas prices, but I would still like to see them low. After all, gas prices affect prices of everything, as modern consumer society relies of distribution of products from one place to another. The price of gas is reflected in most items from the grocery store (or restaurants if you eat out more than you cook), the electronics that you buy, your travel expenses, and in the cost of living overall.

While there’s not much you can do about the price of all items other than cutting back what you can, when you can, you can use technology to save money on gas. I’ve been using Fuelly to track my gas usage and expenses, but this doesn’t do much for me other than track the data. I haven’t been able to use this information to save much money.

CNN Money offers some suggestions for websites and mobile apps that, if used correctly, will help you save money on gas.

  • GasBuddy helps you find the cheapest gas station on your path, thanks to user submissions, with incentives for sharing information.
  • Bankrate’s gas calculator helps you determine whether it’s worthwhile to drive out of your way to save a few cents per gallon. Saving money on gas is pointless if the extra miles you drive eliminate the cost advantage.
  • Carticipate for iPhone and Facebook helps you find carpools along your route or share your ride.
  • Gashog operates somewhat like Fuelly, but the interface is better if you have an iPhone. You can track your fuel economy for each tank. While the app costs $0.99 compared to the free Fuelly, you don’t need internet access to track your information.
  • Route4Me for the iPhone evaluates the map that includes all of your destinations and determines the most efficient route for completing all your chores that involve driving.
  • Mapquest has incorporated gas price tools that will help you decide where to be a customer.

These apps and websites will help you make better decisions about spending money and driving, but don’t do much to help your fuel economy. Here are some ways to soften the effect of high gas prices.

Published or updated May 5, 2011. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Ceecee ♦53 (Newbie)

I have a friend who shops at the same grocery and drugstores, so we are now carpooling for store trips. I’ve never felt the need to do this before. I used to love to go out for a drive, but that doesn’t happen often right now(and I have a small car!)

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avatar Amy Saves

gas buddy is great!

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avatar fred

Check out ‘fuel economy calculator’ on iphone too, see if your car is using that expensive fuel efficiently

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avatar faithfueledbennetts ♦264 (Nickel)

I have started grocery shopping at 1 grocery store that also has a gas station & based on the ‘reward points’ I get for buying groceries, it brings the price of my gas down at the pump. Sometimes I save about .20 a gallon which is nice. It all adds up for sure. We have had to consolidate our trips in the car as it takes about 45 minutes to get anywhere for us since we live in the country. I guess it pushes you to really think further out of the box to save!

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avatar tigernicole86 ♦55 (Newbie)

I still have to say. I <3 gasbuddy. And, I have grocery store which gives me fuel discounts for every $50 i spend and in turn, for every 10 gallons of fuel I get, I also get 1% off my groceries up to 20% off. Oh happy day. =D

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avatar Pat S

Drive the speed limit, keep your tires inflated, take the junk out of the trunk, and combine trips.

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avatar tbork84 ♦1,867 (Half-Dollar)

That is the advice that will really give you those extra mpg. Plus anything that can include “junk out of the trunk” should be considered wise and make someone laugh.

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avatar wylerassociate ♦162 (Cent)

gasbuddy and gashog are 2 sites that I use although I do live close to work so that is an advantage although not a big one.

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avatar shellye ♦107 (Cent)

Gasbuddy is great. I also shop at a grocery store that gives me a .10 per gallon discount each time I spend $50 or more in the store, which is no problem. However, their two gas stations in my area are each about 10 miles from my house, in areas that I don’t normally drive through, so I either have to make a special trip or let the discounts slide, or give them to my daughters, both of whom are driving and can go to the station after school to fill up.

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avatar skylog ♦368 (Nickel)

it seems there are several fans of “gasbuddy.” i never would have thought it would have been worth it to drive out of your way, as i assumed that any difference in price would have been lost by driving (possibly) further to actually get the lower gas. is this not the case? are most of you only stopping a station on your regular commute, but using the service to find the lowest? i am just curious.

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avatar Cejay ♦1,521 (Half-Dollar)

These are great tips. I need something to eke out the last bit of gas mileage from my old car. Right now I am not sure if it is worth more to replace it and pay out money or to keep on going. This tips should help to make it a little easier to keep it going a little longer.

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avatar Barb Friedberg

I’m always thinking about saving travel time, even though I don’t travel much (since I telecommute). I wouldn’t spend time on searching out the lowest gas prices because it’s not worth my time. I try to bundle errands and eliminate driving on some days.

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avatar DonnaFreedman ♦90 (Newbie)

If your workplace is near a business district, steal part of your lunch hour to do a few errands a week on foot: drugstore, produce market, dry cleaners, whatever. This will also give you an extra bit of exercise.
If your job includes driving (e.g., outside sales rep), see if you can stop along the way and do such errands as part of your lunch break. For example, swing into the supermarket and buy a few nonperishables (especially if there’s a hot sale), or into the pet-supply warehouse to buy dog food or cat litter. Make this the last stop if you can so you’re not driving around half the day with 50 pounds of added weight from the kibble.

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