The concept behind GasBuddy is simple, but it requires a critical mass of users to be effective. Individual GasBuddy users, using their apps on iOS and Android, check prices for the different grades of unleaded, diesel and LPG fuel at petrol stations and submit them to the GasBuddy database, which is updated in real time. Other users confirm those prices after seeing them, or submit updates if prices change.
GasBuddy incentivises users with a daily $100 fuel card giveaway in the US, and will do the same within Australia, especially during launch as it tries to get new users onboard quickly. Challenges — which might include users reporting prices for specific fuels, or within specific regions or on certain underperforming days of the week — and regular reporting build points, which users can use to enter the daily giveaway draws. It’s a simple system, but it’s effective when teamed with the community-minded nature of the app and the inherent advantage of finding cheaper fuel.
In the US, GasBuddy already gets 60 million price reports per month, with a core of power users submitting dozens of different prices per day. Even a passive user that doesn’t submit any prices gets the advantage of GasBuddy’s crowdsourcing finding the cheapest prices, though, and it also services as a repository for extra service station information including utilities like bathrooms and ATMs. In our early use, it’s possible to find significant price variance between different nearby stations — and navigating to the cheaper one is easy.
GasBuddy’s Australian country manager, Nic Moulis, has years of experience in the fuel industry both as a petrol station operator and on the supply side of the chain; he’s confident the service will help motorists find better deals in the 5 to 8 kilometre radius that statistics say they usually buy fuel within. “Petrol prices vary greatly even within a small distance, and that has long been a pain point for Aussies.” Australia is the first country outside of the US and Canada that GasBuddy has launched in in its 15 years of service.