Although gas prices are currently lower than they have been in years, saving a little pocket change is always a good thing. Americans spend $1,000-$3,000 on gas each year. This average can vary due to commuting distance, market changes, and vehicle health.
Even if you’re not the best at shopping for gas, there’s an app to help. Mobile apps can save you money by helping you efficiently manage your vehicle’s mileage and fuel costs. Test your vehicle’s performance or find the nearest gas station with the best prices. Do the basics well with some app help.
Please note that while the apps listed below are related to driving and your vehicle, you should never use your smartphone while driving. For the safety of yourself and others, please only use these apps either before or after your commute has taken place.
FuelLog (Android, Free)
One of the oldest and most trusted apps designed to help you save money on gas, FuelLog is free to download and use. A unique feature — FuelLog supports electric cars and provides a detailed report of your gas usage and expenses. You can anticipate gas costs by using the fuel calculator and track vehicle maintenance within the app.
The Pro version of FuelLog is available for $2.59 on Android only. It includes an unlimited number of cars, graphs, and cost entries in an ad-free environment. With FuelLogPRO users can import or export data, making in-depth analysis of expense costs simple during tax season.
Either version of FuelLog can help you save money by increasing awareness of fuel expenses, trip costs and car maintenance issues affecting gas purchases.
Garmin Mechanic (Android, Free)
Garmin Mechanic makes it easy to track your vehicle’s speed, total distance and mileage to help you save money on gas. It can be your mobile toolbox on Android smartphones and tablets.
Garmin Mechanic stands out from other apps because it analyzes fuel usage and vehicle performance over time. Entering your information at fill up provides insights into cost per mile, total fuel used, and approximate miles per gallon for one or more vehicles.
Pairing Garmin Mechanic with ecoRoute HD (a $99.99 upgrade) opens up more robust vehicle tracking tools, including real-time data about your vehicle’s essential functions. You can track everything from oil pressure to air flow while accessing precise fuel economy information specific to your vehicle.
Whether gas prices are falling or on an upswing, GasBuddy will help you save money by finding the least-expensive gas prices in your area. Perfect for savvy shoppers seeking the best local deal, GasBuddy is available online and via mobile apps.
Like Waze, it works by user participation. Fellow users update the database daily ensuring the app’s customers can access the lowest local gas prices.
Compared with similar apps, GasBuddy focuses on finding the cheapest gas prices in the area and where to find them. The database spans the U.S. and Canada, making it ideal for road trips and local travel.
GasBuddy also uses gamification to motivate users to update the database. Reporting gas prices earns users awards, points and daily entries for a $100 gas gift card.
AAA TripTik (Web, iOS, Android, Free)
Save money on road trips. AAA’s TripTik web and mobile apps do not need a paid membership for AAA to access the trip planning features.
Besides mapping travel distance, users can search for the nearest gas stations or electric car charging stations, which is helpful when comparison shopping in an unfamiliar location. Fuel-economy aside, you can also find nearby hotels, restaurants, pharmacies and other local amenities.
For AAA members ($66-$126 annually), the mobile apps offer more functionality like in-app roadside help requests, optional Passbook integration, and battery replacement quotes.
Gas Manager (iOS and Android, Free [No Longer Available])
Gas Manager is a helpful companion for frugal drivers. The freemium app tracks gas usage and expenses.
Tracking the first 10 fill-ups is free; then, an in-app purchase of $3.99 unlocks unlimited fill-up tracking. Using Gas Manager helps you save money by monitoring gas consumption, price and mile per dollar.
Viewing fuel data within the app also provides a glimpse of your vehicle’s fuel economy and efficiency. The app also helps track your vehicle’s carbon footprint.
Helpful features like geolocation of your parking spot or the ability to find local gas stations and mechanics, add to the app’s value and money-saving potential.
For more apps with a wide variety of vehicle management features, check out these car mode apps for Android.
Like GasBuddy, Waze mobilizes the power of a community to ensure information is constantly updated.
Compared with traditional gas-related apps, Waze saves you time and money by providing traffic and road hazard information in real time.
It is particularly useful for those with long daily commutes. Waze can help you avoid traffic jams (a super inefficient use of fuel) and get to your destination quicker. The app also points you in the direction of the cheapest gas prices.
Specific data transmitted via Waze includes law enforcement traps, closed roads and accidents on local roads. A live map is accessible and customizable within Waze, allowing you to tailor the information shown to include only the most relevant updates. Users gain points for adding new data to Waze and using Waze as their GPS, making travel and fuel tracking a daily game.
Developed by Yellowpages.com, Gas Guru’s features are similar to those of GasBuddy, as the app helps you locate the nearest gas station with the lowest prices. But when have you ever just needed gas?
Whether you need an oil change or a quick bite to eat, Gas Guru points you in the right direction. Between enhancing the efficiency of your daily commute and finding the least-expensive gas stations in your area, Gas Guru can help you save a significant sum.
Built-in social sharing and location ratings make it easy to help friends save money on gas and shop at the highest-rated local businesses. In an emergency, Gas Guru also helps you locate nearby mechanics and ATMs.
Fuel price information is consistently updated via the Oil Price Information Service as opposed to the app’s community of users.
Dash stands out on this list for two reasons. First, it does need extra equipment in the form of an on-board diagnostic device (OBD), which, depending on the vendor, begins at around $20.
Dash is a Bluetooth-connected app (itself free to use, minus equipment costs) that tracks your driving style, compares nearby gas prices, and even evaluates what the unexpected check engine light is signaling.
Dash offers real-time MPG information and custom driver scores, while saving you money by helping you become a better driver and scouting the best gas prices. It supports many vehicles.
One of Dash’s most exciting features is the ability to see your driver rating compared to other users, which is a motivator to consistently improve your fuel efficiency habits.
If an OBD device sounds like a good fit for you, you can also check your car’s performance with these other OBD devices.
Where Will You Travel?
The average price of gas within a geographical area can vary by 10 cents or more per gallon. Using any one of these tools can save you a few dollars each time you fill up. Now that you’re equipped with apps to track and save every penny, where will you go with all the extra cash?
Can apps help where our own discipline fails? Which are the apps you would recommend for better driving habits?
Image Credit: Petrol pump Via Shutterstock