Want to save money on a road trip? The GasBuddy app is the way to go.
Unless you’re driving a hybrid or an electric vehicle, gas is one of those evil necessities that’ll drain your wallet faster than a visit to Wrigley Field.
When I planned our first two Two Lane Gems tours I used the RoadTrippers app. One of its features is an estimated fuel cost calculator. Each time I’d add a destination I’d watch that number rise and I’d cringe as each extra mile translated into bigger expenses.
It didn’t stop me from adding that out-of-the-way destination. I figured that was the cost of doing business and I was on a mission. I wasn’t about to plan our trip based on the price of gas.
That’s just silly talk.
BUT, gas is a huge expense. And there’s little more frustrating than pulling off to fill your tank and then passing a station at the next exit or town that’s twenty cents cheaper per gallon.
Mile after mile, those cents add up to big dollars. When you want to calculate gas prices for a trip, I’ve got a favorite tool:
Gas Buddy is one of the best road trip apps and a website that’s all about saving money on gas.
This road trip tool began as a website in 2000 and iPhone and Android apps were added in 2009. Over the years it’s become an increasingly useful and accurate way to find the best gas prices.
You can use the website to see how gas prices compare across the country and view historical data.
If you’re wondering, how much will gas cost for my trip? With the gas road trip calculator, you enter your starting and ending locations plus information about your vehicle and it will estimate gas for a trip. This makes it easier to create a budget for your road trip.
It also solves another persistent road trip problem: how to find gas stations along my route? There are some areas of the country were gas stations are few and far between. Gasbuddy app helps you find them.
Mr. TLT and I swear by the Gasbuddy app to help us find the cheapest gas stations and it’s saved us gallons of money, both on the road and at home.
Here’s a quick tutorial on how to use the GasBuddy app to find the best gas prices near you, whether you’re at home or on your next road trip.
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All screen captures are from the Android GasBuddy app
How to use the GasBuddy App
- What is GasBuddy?
- How to use GasBuddy App
- Find Gas Stations Along Your Route
- Switch to GasBuddy Map View
- Choose your fuel type
- Choose your brand
- Choose gas stations with amenities
- Check gas station details
- Gas Buddy Trip Calculator
- Save more with Pay with GasBuddy
- Save with GasBuddy Deal Alerts
- Get “GasBack”
- Park with GasBuddy
What is GasBuddy?
GasBuddy is a website and an app for both iPhone and Android that lets you find gas prices in nearly real-time.
Gas prices are updated by users on the free GasBuddy app, and each listing will tell you how long ago it was updated.
In urban areas, the gas price has often been updated within a few hours. Rural areas aren’t going to be updated as frequently.
While you can create an account and update prices yourself, you don’t have to if all you want to do is use the app.
With the GasBuddy app you can:
- Find the cheapest gas price
- Search by type of fuel
- Find the closest gas station
- Search for specific brands
- Find stations that sell beer and wine
- See which ones have air
- Include stations that require membership (Costco, Sam’s Club)
- Find propane
- Find restrooms
- Find restaurants
- Locate stations with convenience stores
Related: check out our huge guide on road tripping on a budget
How to use GasBuddy App
When you open the GasBuddy app, you’ll see the various things you can do.
In recent years GasBuddy has become increasingly easier to use. Previously you could only visit the website. Then you could use an app, but it just gave you a list of nearby gas stations with distances.
Now you can view a gas station map, filter by a number of criteria, and get directions. You can even earn points when you contribute by leaving reviews or updating prices. Once you’ve earned points, you can enter to win a daily prize.
They’ve also partnered with several businesses to save you even more money.
It’s a well-rounded tool that can make buying gas easier.
Note: This should really go without saying, but ALWAYS have your navigator use GasBuddy while you’re driving. If you don’t have a navigator, pull over if you need to use the app.
Find Gas Stations Along Your Route
Tap on “Find Gas” from the home screen and it will bring up a list that’s closest to your current location. If you’d like to plan ahead, you can enter a location in the search field at the top of the screen.
GasBuddy will often partner with gas stations to save even more. You can only get this deal if you use their Pay with GasBuddy card. More on the card later.
Switch to GasBuddy Map View
On the top right corner of the list screen is a map icon. When you tap on that, you’ll switch to a map view.
If you put in a city, you’ll see a map of gas station prices focused on the city center. If you put in your location, it will be indicated by a blue dot and you’ll see prices at stations near you. This is really handy when you’re in an unfamiliar area.
Choose your fuel type
Do you need a specific type of fuel? You can filter for Regular, Midgrade, Premium, Diesel, E85, and UNL88.
Choose your brand
This filter comes in handy if you want to fuel up at a specific brand of station.
Mr. TLT and I have rewards cards at a few different brands, and sometimes we prefer one over the other depending on how many points or cents-off we’ve accrued.
Choose gas stations with amenities
Need to use the bathroom? Want to pick up some beer or wine for the room? Need a car wash? Hungry?
Use the amenities filter to find stations with the amenities you need.
Check gas station details
If you want more information about a particular station, you can tap through to its detail page. This is also where you can leave a review if you’d like.
Gas Buddy Trip Calculator
When you’re planning a trip, visit the GasBuddy website to use their gas road trip calculator.
You can enter your starting and ending points, as well as your vehicle information, and GasBuddy will estimate your total fuel costs.
Save more with Pay with GasBuddy
In addition to helping you find the best gas prices, Pay with GasBuddy Fuel Saver card can give you an additional discount.
To use the program, you connect your checking account to Pay with GasBuddy. They’ll send you a card in the mail, which you’ll then use at participating gas stations.
It looks like a credit/debit card. You insert it into the gas pump and enter your pin. If you want to track your gas mileage, you can input your odometer reading.
After you’ve finished pumping your gas, Pay with Gasbuddy will send you a notification letting you know how much you’ve saved. It’s typically anywhere from 3 to 5 cents per gallon.
Sometimes, Pay with GasBuddy works in conjunction with other discount programs so you can save even more! For example, if you’re a Shell Rewards member, you can often get your Shell discount, and then use your Pay with GasBuddy card to get an additional discount.
Save with GasBuddy Deal Alerts
Another way to save money on gas is GasBuddy Deal Alerts. These are personalized savings that are based on things like where you are, which of their partners are offering discounts, and how you use the app.
Your deals are influenced by whether or not you report prices, how often you use Pay with GasBuddy, or participate in the GasBack program (details on that are below).
GasBuddy Deal Alerts appear in both the list and the map displays.
You also get the additional discount from your Pay with GasBuddy card, and if might save even more with the gas station brand’s rewards program.
For example, as T-Mobile customers, each week from Tuesday through Friday, Mr. TLT and I get an additional 10 cents off a gallon with our Shell Fuel Rewards. We use that card plus Deal Alerts plus Pay with GasBuddy.
Depending on the Deal Alert, we’ve saved up to 30 cents a gallon!
Save additional money and get “GasBack” (instead of cash back) when you make purchases through the app. For example, you can get $0.50 back for every trip you make with Uber, or get 3% back when you book your travel through Booking.com.
Park with GasBuddy
GasBuddy has partnered with ParkWhiz, so now you can book parking through your GasBuddy app.
As you can see, the GasBuddy app makes it very easy to not only find the cheapest gas prices, but to save even more money. You don’t even have to wait to go on a road trip to use this app; it comes in handy no matter where you are.
Do you have any favorite road trip apps? Please share!