Smartphone apps help you find cheaper gas in a hurry

Gasbuddy and others becoming popular

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. - When it comes to saving money on gas the most popular app seems to be Gasbuddy.  It's free and once it's on your phone, a quick tap will show you the cheapest prices wherever you are. I tested it on Little Road in New Port Richey, and it was dead on.

Regular gas was $3.55 a gallon at a Sunoco, matching the price shown on Gasbuddy.  But less than a mile away you could find it for $3.49 at the Mobil, the Hess, and the 7-11 next door. If you checked your phone first, you would saved about a buck.

In Tampa, the range is greater, with some stations selling gas for 13 cents more a gallon.

And in St. Petersburg, Gasbuddy accurately shows a Sunoco on Tyrone Boulevard at $3.69 a gallon. That's as much 30 cents more than other stations around town.

Gasbuddy co-founder Jason Toews told me use of the app has tripled in recent weeks. He says they get about 5 million visits a day.

"When you need gasoline and you look down at your fuel gauge, you realize you are out of gas. You are in your car already. You can just pull up your iPhone application or Android application and find cheap gas right near you," said Toews.

Gasbuddy actually relies on everyday people to report gas prices in their neighborhood. They are called spotters.

"The idea is that if we have a whole bunch of people reporting in these gas stations it becomes a lot easier to find the cheap gas," said Towes.

There are others including a free app called 'Where to.' It is also useful, but gas prices on that app didn't seem to be as current.

If you don't have a smartphone, you can still access Gasbuddy and the others on the web. But you'll have to remember to do it before you leave home.

Editor's note:  Gas Buddy helps ABC Action News find the lowest gas prices in the Tampa Bay area .

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