These days there’s so much going on in our lives that it’s easy to operate in autopilot. That’s especially true when it comes to our daily routines and purchases. I observe this during my daily drive to work. Take gas stations, for example. How can two gas stations at the same intersection have equal patronage despite a 30-cent-a-gallon price difference?
It happens because the average consumer is less than intentional with their spending even when a little more thought and effort could result in significant savings.
GasBuddy is an app designed to make it easier to capture those savings.
Like other fuel apps, GasBuddy monitors gas station prices in your area. But unlike competitor apps, GasBuddy goes the extra mile by providing extra features to bring you additional value as a vehicle owner.
What is GasBuddy?
Founded in 2000, GasBuddy is a money management app designed for any vehicle owner over the age of 18. GasBuddy isn’t the only mobile app that tracks prices at the pump, but that doesn’t mean it functions just like its competitors.
GasBuddy builds a profile based on the year, make, and model of your vehicle to give you the maximum amount of vehicle information. This includes vehicle recalls, fuel efficiency, and fill up frequency.
GasBuddy has also introduced a debit card program that boosts your rate of savings at the pump. Alongside the debit card program, GasBuddy offers a variety of paid add-on services as well.
I’ll take you through the GasBuddy offerings, so you can decide if the app is right for you.
Find the Cheapest Gas in Your Area
To help you calculate the savings differential in your area, GasBuddy created a tool called Price Spread. This tool identifies gas stations with the lowest fuel prices within your specified search radius. The center of the radius is based on either your real-time GPS location or on a location you input manually. This tool can be a life saver when you are on a long road trip with multiple fill-ups along the way.
GasBuddy analyzes your vehicle profile to help you decide when the best time and place to fuel up. For example, the app gives you the information you need to determine whether you’re better off filling up at a particular station or if you’ll save more money by waiting to top off further down the road.
According to GasBuddy, the average user saves $340 a year when they use the app to stop paying too much for gas!
Search Gas Stations by Characteristics
The GasBuddy search function allows you to filter your search according to specific amenities. Is your tire pressure getting low? Is a passenger having a bathroom emergency? GasBuddy has you covered. Select the features you’re looking for, and GasBuddy will point out nearby gas stations that have exactly what you and your passengers need.
Right now, you can search for a wide range of features including:
- Car wash station
- Air pressure station
- Truck Stop
- Restrooms & convenience store
- 24/7 availability
- Service station
- Fuel types
Pay with GasBuddy
GasBuddy recently launched a new debit card program that gives drivers a discount on every gallon of gas they pump. It’s called Pay with GasBuddy and the baseline service is 100% free!
Here’s how it works. New members save 10 cents a gallon on their first purchase and a minimum of 5 cents a gallon on all subsequent fill ups. When you use the GasBuddy discount at the pump there you won’t see the savings on your receipt. Rather, the discount will appear as a credit in your checking account within 1-3 business days of the transaction.
According to GasBuddy, you can use your Pay with GasBuddy debit card at roughly 95% of gas stations across the US. The few known exceptions are mostly stations like Costco or Sam’s Club, which are already a part of a discounted program.
The GasBuddy payment card is just like a typical debit card, except that it can only be used at gas stations for gas. The free program doesn’t include any sign up, maintenance, or annual fees of any kind. Keep in mind, that there are fees associated with the Pay with GasBuddy Plus and Premium packages.
Pay with GasBuddy Paid Memberships
Pay with GasBuddy also offers Plus and Premium paid membership services. These memberships are the new Cadillac packages created for drivers with a higher demand for fuel discounts. Here’s what you’ll get:
Plus members receive a 20-cent-per-gallon discount off the first 40 gallons of gas purchased each month. After that, they’ll save 5% per gallon until the next month.
Premium members will save 20 cents a gallon on the first 40 gallons of gas they purchase each month. After that, each gallon of gas purchased will be discounted by 5% until the end of the month. Additionally, Premium members are also enrolled in the Roadside Assistance Program which covers three events per year.
Getting Started with GasBuddy
In the sign-up window, you are prompted to link a valid checking account to your account. Gas Buddy is currently compatible with over 700 banks in the United States. Once approved, your Pay with GasBuddy card will arrive in the mail. At that point, all that’s left to do is confirm receipt of your card in the app or online and create your unique identification name. Once this is complete, you can start using your GasBuddy card to save money at the pump.
Running the Numbers
Before you sign up for either of these higher end programs, you’ll want to run some numbers. There are a number of variables to consider. First, figure out how much your current insurance carrier charges for roadside assistance. Roadside assistance is built into some policies. In that case, GasBuddy’s Plus program might be the only paid service worth considering.
You’ll also want to do the math on your fuel usage, to put the gas discount program into perspective. Let’s assume you have a 12-gallon fuel tank that you fill three times per month. That means each month you’re getting a 20-cent discount on 36 gallons of gas. That equates to monthly savings of $7.20 and $86.40 over the course of a year.
If you use more fuel than the average vehicle owner, your annual savings could be closer to $150. In any event, the savings exceed the annual fee. Plus, there’s a good chance you’ll save even more by using the app to navigate to cheaper gas stations!
Because Pay with GasBuddy requires you to use their payment card, you’ll no longer be able to earn credit card reward points for fuel purchases. That means you’ll also want to evaluate whether that trade off makes financial sense for you.
All in all, the Plus package is a solid add-on service that makes saving money at the pump simple. It’s an especially attractive option if you’re someone who doesn’t want to have to keep track of rotating rewards categories on credit cards in order to maximize cash back for gas station purchases.
While GasBuddy won’t result in other-worldly savings, it’s sure to have a positive effect on your monthly expenditures.
Is GasBuddy Right for You?
GasBuddy is an innovative app that combines price hunting and discounts for a commodity that is in high demand. GasBuddy continues to expand its offerings, introducing new features and services that most anyone can benefit from.
While it may take a few minutes to determine whether GasBuddy membership services are worth committing to, there is a chance for significant savings. For drivers with lengthy commutes or a propensity for frequent road trips, then GasBuddy’s benefits are tough to ignore. And even if you aren’t interested in adding another card to your wallet, you can still save money at the pump by downloading the free app and letting GasBuddy alert you to the most favorable fuel prices in your area!