We may feel worlds away from the persistent turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, but the unrest is starting to have a very direct effect on our wallets as gas prices begin to skyrocket. In the last week alone, prices rose 15 cents, and the national average is already at $3.50 a gallon.
Panicking Americans are looking for something -- anything -- to help them save some cash at the pump. Enter GasBuddy -- an app for the iPhone, Android, and Windows Mobile devices that tracks gas prices in your area to help you find the cheapest option. It's not quite as cost-effective as carpooling or trading in that gas-guzzler for a more fuel-efficient vehicle; but satisfied customers are acting like it's the next best thing.
So how does it work?
Developed by GasBuddy.com -- a website that tracks gas prices using information through crowd-sourcing, a.k.a. using volunteers -- the app provides users on the go with a list of nearby gas stations either by distance or by the price. (I think we know which of the two criterion is most important these days.)
So is it worth it to drive miles out of the way for gas that is minimally cheaper?
Users are swearing by the app, saying that they've been able to find gas that is anywhere from $0.10 to $0.30 cheaper per gallon, and it's making a ton of difference for them. And, with experts predicting that gas will reach $4 by the end of the month -- already it's creeping up to that point in California and Hawaii -- we should be operating under the premise that every little bit counts.
How much does gas cost in your area?
Image via ReneS/Flickr