Did you ever fill your tank and then spot a cheaper gas price as you drove across town? A website designed to help you find the best deal is run entirely by volunteers. It’s six years now since Jason Toews started up “Gas Buddy,” a website to let people report gas prices they spot in various locations.
Noting the price of gasoline varies by as much as 30-cents a gallon within the state of Iowa, Toews says he and a buddy decided to start up a website where people could share price tips, so readers could find the best deal without having to drive all over town.
The main website is “Gas buddy-dot-com,” but clicking on a map brings up individual sites including individual state and even city reports. In addition to the Iowa statewide report, he says there are dedicated sites for Des Moines and Quad Cities price reports. Toews says they have 174 local gas-price websites across the country, one for every major metro area, and a page for every state.
He says it’s understandable that gas stations don’t really want to share price info, especially with their competition, but plenty of volunteers were willing to join the effort. People log on to the website and report the prices they spot. “It’s kind of a grassroots effort, where people just want to contribute,” he says. “People are tired of the high gas prices, so they want to do whatever they can to help themselves and other people find the cheapest gas.”
Toews says people find out about it by word of mouth, and links from other websites. There’s a network of thousands of registered price-reporters around the country, and the founder says “We get to know who people are, get to know that they’re posting reliable information.” He says you’ll see them listed, each denoted with a symbol showing their seniority with the website. When they report, operators post who reported it, where it is, and how it compares with competition in the area.
There’s even a discussion area, where participants can post comments, questions, news and opinions about gas prices and other topics. Toews says the volunteers who do the reporting have proved themselves dependable, and persistent.
The top reporter on the website has been doing it for about five years, and has checked in virtually every day. He says there is a burnout factor, with some dropping out and being replaced by new volunteers, but a lot of people are going strong. Start with Gasbuddy-dot-com and find the links for your area from there.
Related web sites:
Iowa gas price website