The boiling tensions in the Middle East have been steadily overflowing across the world with rising gas prices. As Muammar al-Gaddafi tries to keep a grip on the people of his oil-rich country, the Libyan protests are affecting consumers globally, including in the U.S. While experts do not believe the skyrocketing gas prices will throw the U.S. back into a recession, it certainly isn’t helping the economic recovery. Rising to $107 a barrel, oil prices at the local pumps have inflated as well. As a recent college graduate, I too looked toward GasBuddy to help me find the best local gas prices.
What Is GasBuddy?
With over 3,000 followers on Twitter and 37,000 fans on Facebook, GasBuddy has been making a name for itself as the best real-time gas price forum on the Internet since 2000. Mobile apps are available for iPhone, Android and Windows phones. GasBuddy also offers money saving tips to help reduce your gas expenditures, such as reduce your driving speed, keep your tires properly inflated and keep the windows closed.
Most don’t go to GasBuddy for driving tips; they are looking for the best local gas prices.
My Experience with GasBuddy
Turns out GasBuddy might not be such a great “buddy.” The most obvious issue is that not all cities are listed. While I live in North Bergen, Nj., I work and spend more of my time in New Brunswick, Nj. When I plugged in the New Brunswick zip code, I was disappointed to read that “no current gas prices reported.”
I then decided to take a look at the entire state of New Jersey and find the lowest gas price that is closest to me. At first, the top three lowest gas prices were $3.17 per gallon for regular from gas stations in Edison, Nj. Approximately 20 minutes away from New Brunswick, I thought I found my solution.
When I refreshed the page, a listing of $2.97 per gallon for regular at a Getty in Plainfield, Nj. appeared. When I refreshed the page 10 minutes later, the listing was gone. Approximately an hour later, the listing returned. I then noticed a small disclaimer at the bottom of the page, “As this site depends on visitor price updates, New Jersey Gas Prices is not responsible for information inaccuracies, inconsistencies or errors.”
Since the prices are entered by local residents and often not updated, GasBuddy doesn’t always have the most accurate information.
After visiting GasBuddy, I do have a better appreciation for the fact that I live in one of the top 10 states with the lowest gas prices. New Jersey lands at number seven on GasBuddy’s list with an average of $3.344 per gallon for regular. New Brunwick is less than 40 miles out of Manhattan, where the lowest price listed is $3.73 per gallon for regular. Yet New Yorkers can’t complain when they see the $4.05 per gallon for regular prices in West Hollywood, Ca.
The concept of an accurate and comprehensive listing of local gas prices did seem just too good to be true.
Bechler, Brad, GasBuddy: Gas Prices Still Highest In CA – Where Are The Lowest?, Gather.com
Gorondi, Pablo, Oil jumps to near $107 amid fierce Lybia fighting, Associated Press
Top Ten Fuel Saving Tips, GasBuddy.com