App finds, reports cheapest local gas prices

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Although gas prices are hitting record lows, many consumers (especially students) are remaining vigilant for the best gas prices available in town.

“Gas prices can be a really big concern for me when I’m budgeting, especially when they’re higher,” Jacinta Bergkamp, freshman in open option, said.

Travis Atchison, sophomore in computer science, said that although gas prices do not factor into his decision on when to fill up, they definitely affect his choice of station.

“I want to make my gas last as long as possible for the best price,” Atchison said.

It is not always feasible to find the best prices by driving to each gas station in town, so the GasBuddy app is available on both the Apple and Google Play app stores. It is also available online and on the Windows Phone and Blackberry app stores.

With GasBuddy, users input their location and the app retrieves a list of user-reported gas prices from the surrounding area, as well as other information such as distance from the user and type of gas available at the station. The app also allows users to compare the lowest and average local gas prices against low and average prices from around the state and nation. It also contains information on trends in prices.

Sam Smith, freshman in computer engineering, said he’s seen big differences in gas prices across the nation.

“Prices have been a lot more expensive in some of the states I’ve been to, namely Arizona,” Smith said. “I think that the gas prices here are a lot cheaper than those places, especially since I grew up in Wichita, where prices were pretty cheap. I think that prices in Manhattan might even be a little cheaper.”

The app relies mainly on user reports of local gas prices, but GasBuddy also uses a network of reports on local websites to maintain its large list of gas stations and prices.

Although the app is free, it is supported financially by in-app advertisements. The ads, however, are largely unobtrusive and do not stop or slow down the user experience.

In addition to offering information about low gas prices, GasBuddy offers other features as well. The company encourages users to report gas prices in their areas by awarding points to users who report the local prices. The points are then redeemable for daily chances to win a $100 gas gift card. In the “contest entry” section of the app, several past winners are pictured holding their winnings.

Another useful feature is the ability to save gas stations for future reference. This is especially practical for users that want to establish preferred gas stations, even though prices at the stations may not be the lowest.

As for use of GasBuddy, its simple layout and unsophisticated design allow it to be useful to all users regardless of technological level or experience.

Overall, users can expect GasBuddy to be an easy and convenient way of finding the cheapest gas prices in town. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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I’m Rafael Garcia, co-editor-in-chief at the Collegian. I’m a junior in journalism, campus visit coordinator for the JMC Ambassadors, and the vice president of social events and communication for the Edgerley-Franklin Urban Leaders. I come from Emporia, Kansas, home of the Twinkie, world’s best tasting tap water and journalist William Allen White. I’m passionate about journalism because I love people and their stories, and I want to find and tell those stories here on campus. In my spare time, I’m a Chihuahua wrangler, doughnut enthusiast, Netflix watcher and racquetball player. Contact me at [email protected]