Rather than guessing where has the cheapest petrol price, American app GasBuddy will help you find it — and it’s launching in Australia today.
The service has been around since 2004 in the US and reports fuel prices to its users through crowd sourcing.
Essentially, users drive past petrol stations and type in the price on the app of what they’ve seen. Once that’s initially been done each day other users can come through and either confirm that it’s the right price or change it.
For incentive, every time a user adds a price they get points, and once you rack up enough points you can enter them into the daily draw to win a $100 fuel voucher.
Of course, with a business model like that you need lots of people to make it work. In the US, GasBuddy receives 60 million price reports per month, with a core group of power users that contribute the most.
While for now that’s the only way for prices to be added, eventually petrol stations will be able to automatically log their prices and credit card companies will provide data, the same as they do in the US.
On top of fuel prices, users can also submit services available at each station, including this such as bathrooms, ATMs and car washes.
I’ve been using it for a bit over a week now, both to search for prices and submit my own. Even in just the trial phase, at least two thirds of petrol stations I see have prices updated in the last 24 hours, although most of them are just basic E10 prices and lack 95, 98 and diesel. But with more time and users on the service, that will definitely grow.
Interestingly, one of GasBuddy’s biggest forms of revenue isn’t actually from the app. While they do make money from advertising throughout, their database is what is most valuable. In the US, they’ve signed deals with several big car makers such as Mercedes-Benz to supply data to the car’s navigation system, allowing you to find petrol prices without touching your phone while driving. Those sorts of features will be launched locally as well, with the Australian operation looking to sign deals with higher end car makers.