How to Find Cheap Gas with Free Apps

There are two gas stations very close to my house, each within a couple of miles, and both are name-brand companies you'd recognize.

They both sell Top Tier gasoline. They're in similar areas (suburban, not near major exits). And they're equally convenient to me.

One station sells gas that is always 20 cents less per gallon.

We own two crossover SUVs that have nearly 18 gallon tanks so the difference in each fill-up is around $3. Three bucks isn't a huge sum of money but why pay more when you don't have to?

If you were driving through our area, you would have no idea. You would fill out at the one you saw first, then lamented the fact you chose poorly if you passed the other.

And that's what we did for a whole year before, randomly one day, we fired up an app to see if there was a better “convenient” option! We will live here for 20 years and if we're filling up once every two weeks, that's a savings of over three thousand dollars!

If you want to save money, you should check out one of these apps to find your next fill up!

Waze

Waze AppI pretty much am in love with Waze.

Waze is a navigation app (acquired and now operated by Google) that I use daily to give me directions, updated traffic information, and re-routes if there are unexpected delays, accidents, or other concerns. On numerous occasions it has saved me tons of time avoiding my regular routes because there is an unexpected delay.

It also has a list of gas stations with updated pricing which you can use to find cheap gas along your route. You can set your preferred gas stations, if you have any branded cards or other deals, and find the one that is the perfect mix of low cost and delay (time added to your drive).

You can, in an instant, decide if saving a few cents per gallon is worth taking an extra fifteen minutes of driving, which also uses up gas.

GasBuddy

GasBuddy was the first gas station price tracking app I ever used. If you used it when they first launched, you'll be surprised at how far they've gone.

GasBuddy still tracks prices, using its millions of users, but now you can pay at the pump using Pay with GasBuddy. When you pay at the pump using a Pay with GasBuddy card and you can earn cashback on your purchase. The card is linked to your checking account.

There are two reward systems you can choose from:

  • You can earn 30¢ per gallon in cashback points for the first 60 days and then 15¢ per gallon in cashback points after that, or,
  • You can get 10¢ per gallon off your first fill-up and then 5¢ off per gallon after that.

The cashback points system is Shop Your Way, which is free to join.

Pay with GasBuddy is not available Exxon Mobil, BJs, Costco, Sam's Club, H-E-B, Select Walmart and Select Arco stations.

Many credit cards offer cashback on purchases at gasoline. Those rewards tend to be limited to 2%, which is 6¢ per gallon if gas is $3 a gallon. You have to ask yourself if it's worth the hassle of signing up for Pay with GasBuddy.

Gas Prices by MapQuest

Before Waze and Google Maps, I used MapQuest for all my directions. When Google Maps came out, poor MapQuest was slow to innovate and was quickly regulated to the dustbin.

Well, it turns out MapQuest is still kicking and they have an app, Gas Prices by MapQuest, that is free and will find you all the gas stations in your general area. Much like Waze, it'll tell you the gas prices as well as the time off route.

You can also set favorites so it'll show you those at the top, even if they aren't nearby. This is useful for those times when you could get gas at home or near work, even if work is on the other side of town.

Other Apps Worth Considering

You should be able to get what you need from Waze, GasBuddy, or Gas Prices by MapQuest – in the event you can't, here are some other options that are less popular but might do the trick.

GetUpside

GetUpside is similar to Pay by GasBuddy but limited to the Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia region. GetUpside is an app attached to gas savings program where you can earn cash back on your gas purchases (there are also grocery and restaurant deals too). There are over a thousand gas stations participating and all you have to do is claim an offer, pay, and take a picture of the receipt.

Route4Me

This is less about finding cheap gas but making them most of your drive – Route4Me is an app that will take a series of stops and calculate the most efficient route. It's free and available for your iOS device.

Gas Guru

Gas Guru is run by Yellowpages.com and not only has gas prices but will include searches for amenities (like a car wash) and discounts (like X cents off on Tuesday). It gets its gas station prices from the Oil Price Information Service and not user entered data. It is available for iOS devices.

AAA TripTik Planner

AAA TripTik Planner is an app that helps you plan your road trip and you can add up to twenty stops along the way, the full app will also tell you the best places to stop for gas along with planning that most efficient route. They have a pretty sizable database of gas stations so you won't miss out. The app is free to non-members but to use the full app, you need to join.

GEICO Mobile

The car insurance company GEICO has an app that uses data from the Oil Price Information Service to help you find a gas station. It's free and you don't have to have GEICO insurance to use it.

One of these apps will surely help you find cheap gas near you!

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a thirty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools,, everything I use) is Personal Capital, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

He is also diversifying his investment portfolio by adding a little bit of real estate. But not rental homes, because he doesn't want a second job, it's diversified small investments in a few commercial properties and a farm in Illinois via AcreTrader.

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