There's nothing like hitting the road for a summer vacation. Although I'm sure that as a kid, I loathed all that time in the car, I do have really sweet memories of my family's two-hour road trips from the Chicago 'burbs to the beaches of Lake Michigan. I remember passing certain landmarks, singing silly songs and playing goofy games, and always feeling like the time spent stuck in a seatbelt was well worth it once we found ourselves beachside.
Now, however, being the grown-up and currently planning another two-hour-plus excursion -- this time from the New Jersey 'burbs to the beaches of the Hamptons -- it's a whole different ballgame. Mostly because now I have to worry about boring things like whether my Jeep needs an oil change before we go or where the honey and I are going to fill 'er up on the cheap. Thank goodness we both have iPhones! Here, five apps that can help you locate your nearest, most wallet-friendly gas station when you're "on the road again" this summer ...
- GasBuddy - Androids, iPhones, and BlackBerries can all download this nifty, free app, which helps you find the cheapest gas on the go, reported by other app users. (If you want to help out and report a gas price, you can earn points towards the company's weekly $250 giftcard giveaway. Neat!) And if you'd rather not download the app to your device, you can just surf on over to their mobile site, m.gasbuddy.com.
- Fuel Smart - This app comes at a cost of $2.99, but boasts higher accuracy than free ones, because instead of relying on users to report the gas prices it shows, it uses gas price databases. So if accuracy down to the penny is super-important to you, you might want to go with this one.
- car-pal+ - Only Windows Phone users can download this guy, which is not only aesthetically pleasing and helps you spot the closest gas station, but also keeps track of fuel efficiency and other maintenance reminders.
- Fuel Finder - iPhone users have exclusive access to this one, which boasts a savings of more than $300 a year on gas when you use their app, which aggregates info from millions of users in the U.S. and Canada. It'll run you $2.99 in the App Store.
- Cheap Gas! - Pay only 99 cents, and you can have this more bare bones app, which lists all stations in order of the lowest price. You can't get directions through the app, but it will open a map to show your current location vs. the gas stations' locations.
More from The Stir: Gas Prices Soar: Are Your State's Prices Among the Highest?
Would you use one of these apps when you hit the road this summer?
Image via Apple.com