Monday, June 9, 2014

RV gas app

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
You are always suggesting people use gas apps to find the best prices. I find these programs very inaccurate. One of the more popular would be Gas Buddy. I’m parked at a Walmart for the night. Right across the street is a Shell Station. Gas Buddy is telling me that the price of gas there is $3.69 per gallon. The Shell sign says it’s $3.87. Which one do you think I’m going to be asked to pay? Perhaps all this online, high tech, wizardry isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Am I doing something wrong, or is the 18 cent difference the fudge factor? My mother always said I asked too many questions. Maybe I’m incurable.
--Skeptic in Schenectady

Dear Skeptic:
You have to take everything with a grain of salt. It’s good to maintain a degree of skepticism. My point is that information gathering will help you make better decisions, so keep asking questions and looking for answers. It’s very healthy. Using a tool such as this app might not be as precise as we would like it, but on average it will save you money. The way I use these gas apps is to let it help target the lowest priced gas stations in a geographical area. No matter what the price, that station will often still have the lowest price. The gas price heat map of the entire U.S. will help you identify the cheapest route, illustrate the areas with the highest gas tax, and help you plan your best pit stops. Most of these apps work off data from credit card swipes, and usually keeps them quite current. You should love Google. It’s full of answers. I use Google for my doctor, mechanic, vet, tour guide--the list goes on. I just visited my motorhome manufacturer and they were too busy to have a tech talk to me about my room slides, but Google’s YouTube had a guy standing by who was glad to walk me through the slide adjustment procedure. I also use the many RV forums when I have a mechanical problem I can’t figure out. I read them all because some people will complain if they are "hung with a new rope." Like the gas app, I take a consensus of opinion before I proceed.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink


jkoenig24 said...

I'm sure that there are a few unscrupulous gas retailers (or other local merchants) who post false low prices knowing that folks use Gas Buddy. They figure that once you're off the highway, you'll buy gas, food etc. I've reported (to Gas Buddy) a couple of stations where I had no doubt this fraud was being perpetrated (and then, did NOT buy gas there). When you find this fraud happening, REPORT IT to Gas Buddy (or other appropriate App). That's really the only way the public can keep the information honest and accurate.

Cheese Queen said...

Skeptic seems unaware that Gas Buddy is comprised of information submitted by users JUST LIKE HIM. Had he submitted the correct price instead of complaining that no one else had already done it, Gas Buddy would have become that much more accurate for everyone.
Sharing information involves giving as well as receiving.

Anonymous said...

Since some Gas Buddy fuel prices are submitted by users, remember there are those who just want to mischievously feel important and post fictitious prices. Example; a price for diesel at a location in TX that didn't even sell diesel.

Anonymous said...

When using these apps, you need to look at all the information. They usually say how many hours it has been since the price was posted. If you sign up, you can correct any misinformation you find

Jeffrey said...

I've been a consistent user of GasBuddy for years, missing only one day (while camping in Yellowstone and unable to get a cell signal to post) in the last 7 years. The problem with sites like this are generally:

Old posts: Usually deleted after 48 hours.
Outdated posts: Prices went up but have not been reported.
Cash/credit conflicts: The cash price is posted on signage and online, but the Master Station List on the website hasn't been updated to show it is due to a cash discount.

Finally, there are the occasional bad posts, where a few derelict users just repost a price to get their daily points/credit without being near the station.

Even if you do not have an account with the reporting site, update the price so others won't have to deal with the headache you've discovered. Also, take the time to update the Gas Buddy 'Master Station List' to show that there is a difference between the cash/credit prices. Some stations will offer it on all grades, but others do so on regular unleaded only.

The only thing we can do is look out for each other, and since it's on the internet, remember the immortal words of Benjamin Franklin, "The only thing you can trust on the internet are the emails from Nigerian royalty."