Friday, February 4, 2011

Smart app: looking for cheaper petrol, without the drive

Internet sites having few promise to find a bargain, but are only for the type of people who think buying gas before leaving the House.

Mobile apps, however, are another matter. Pull into a parking lot, just open the software and you may be able to save a buck or two on your next fill. In the course of a year, you could save enough money for a decent meal out.

Of course, this category is filled with suitable applications, if unspectacular, GasBuddy, which is free on iPhone and Android devices. But if you widen your search, you can find other products that offer the basics, only better, and other useful features.

In this regard Poynt, where both free on Apple, BlackBerry and Android devices, are the major players; They offer information in the vicinity of food, businesses and places of entertainment and service stations.

Those who are willing to pay a bit more polished navigation for Turn-by-Turn Navigator apps like AT&T or Verizon VZ Navigator also obtain local gas prices as part of the deal. But at about $ 120 a year, no deal.

Those who are worried about gas prices and nothing else will probably GasBuddy most — if you are lucky enough to live close to like-minded people.

GasBuddy on iPhone finds your location and allows you to find gas stations based on proximity and price. Sorting-by-distance will be extremely useful if you run gas in an unfamiliar place, which includes a Google map so you can find your way.

But the sorting-by-price is the most promising of this app and unfortunately, this feature often falls short because it depends on the people, using your application or go online to report prices. If anyone happens to report prices for nearby stations in approximately 24 hours stations will not appear in the list. In other words, you must start the application and hope that the city has active collaborators at least a couple of GasBuddy to help.

My town in suburban Connecticut apparently does not.

Last week I drove at our busiest street, Route 1, which has seven stations along a stretch of about 1.6 Street and parked in a BP and Sunoco, a Mobil. None of the prices of petrol stations showed up on the research of GasBuddy, nor have prices from three other stations that were within a mile of me. For good measure, the GasBuddy misidentified as Getty station BP.

The nearest station with prices was four miles away, and its price, $ 3.24 a gallon, was 2 cents higher than the BP station that was parked near a gallon.

Still, if I were in a remote area, I could use GasBuddy to tell me if the price was in line with the local market.

In the major cities of mine, GasBuddy is more useful, because the prices in the cities and around are with good attendance. If you are curious to know how would rate their city, check, which is managed by the same company that developed the application.

The price is the major snag with deluxe offers AT&T Navigator, VZ Navigator from Verizon and Sprint navigation. The services typically cost $ 10 per month, but some of the plans of Sprint all-inclusive offer this feature as a free add-on and iPhone owners can pay $ 70 a year for AT&T Navigator.

I tried quite extensively these applications, and in my experience that provide guidance generally reliable. AT&T Navigator and Sprint navigation, which are from TeleNav, are easier to use and more comprehensive than the VZ Navigator.

In my drive through the city, these applications are not find stations that offer lower prices to GasBuddy, including a Citgo station featured $ 3.23 a gallon.

Navigation applications Turn-by-Turn would suggest for those who don't want to buy a GPS navigation unit or users who qualify for the free app to Sprint. But if saving is a priority, or if you already have a GPS unit for directions, these applications makes little sense.

The smarter approach to gas-price also casual watchers would perhaps where to download, a free iPhone and Android app. Track your position and find local stores, restaurants and entertainment attractions, among other things.

Gas prices, where was adequate. It is found immediately cheap Citgo station nearby that I had seen for navigation applications Turn-by-Turn, as well as the two stations. In all three instances, where prices were a penny higher than the actual prices, but this is a mistake that I could live with.

More worrying was its listing for a Gulf station, to $ 3.23 a gallon. In fact, the cash price was $ 3.26 and the price of credit was $ 3.29.

Poynt, a competitor to where it was not complete. The application uses the GPS location to provide nearby gas prices and, too, Lists information on local restaurants and movies. But the application wasn't as refined as where. Poynt's definition of "close", for example, sometimes including routes 45 minutes away.

On my trek price of gas, Poynt lost even the stations closest to me. But it turned up an independent operator selling four miles away gas to $ 3.13 a gallon.

Wait-$ 3.13 a gallon starts to sound like a real saving. Fortunately, I did some math before exiting. Fill a 15-gallon would have saved me $ 1.50 for purchasing at a station nearby, but the unit would have burned that much gas.

Mathematics also delayed me long enough to notice that I was almost running on empty, so I pulled in BP and filled.

The small independent station is going on my list, though. If I could plan ahead even slightly and fill up there, I could save about $ 75 a year.

If only it were that kind of person.

Speed dialling

Line2, an iPhone app that lets you make cheap calls and texts, is now on Android. The service is free for the first month, then $ 10 per month. ... PBS, the app that previously existed only for iPad, now is also on the iPhone and iPod Touch devices. The app features free video full PBS shows.

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