May 5, 2008

Find Cheapest Gas Prices - GPS Options


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Let's face it, gas prices are pretty high, and finding cheaper gas can save some big bucks. There are some great options to help find cheap gas prices around you where ever you go. Instead of driving around and keeping track of the ever changing gas prices there are a couple of ways to keep track of gas prices when you need them and where you need them. Let's run through some options for GPS units:

Garmin Nuvi 680 & Garmin Nuvi 780 - Both Garmin Nuvi models come with MSN Direct services optional, which with a $50 annual subscription you will get the ability to search nearby regular gas prices. The feed comes over the FM airwaves and is cached on the unit. When I reviewed both units, I found that the gas price capability was one of the most attractive features on the units. It was easy to find gas for a nickel or a dime cheaper per gallon without working too hard. See my Full Review of the Garmin Nuvi 680, and my Full Review of the Garmin Nuvi 780.

TomTom PLUS with Gas Prices - Compatible right now with the TomTom GO 920/920T, the ability to pull in gas prices is only a low <$20 per year subscription away. The system goes through the Bluetooth connection to your COMPATIBLE bluetooth phone running on a data network. This will pull in data through your phone and populate the data into the TomTom to give you a bead on cheaper gas. After subscribing through you TomTom HOME computer application, you will select which grade of fuel (regular, mid, premium, or diesel) which will then show up in your Gas station POI search.

Dash Express Connected GPS - This new generation GPS has a a cellular radio built in so it is connected to the network whenever you need it (and are in range of a cellular tower). A quick search for gas on the Dash allows you to pull up station by station listing and with the tap of the button, you can grab not only the "Regular" gas price as well as the prices on other grades.

Finally, you can always get local cheap gas prices on MapQuest with their new gas pricing capability and MSN. Cool searches allow you to search around addresses, with the ability to search by price, distance and by name.

How's it all work? No, there isn't someone riding around phoning in the latest gas prices.... A company called OpisNet scans the credit card transaction streams for fleet vehicles and watches for gas transactions, checking for gas prices and reporting them. These updates can come several times per day in the case of Dash (although any particular station might get updated less than that), to slightly less frequently for other manufacturers.


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Posted by Scott Martin at May 5, 2008 8:01 AM

Recent Comments

Sure, I get the extra costs, but in my use of several models that have the gas features talked about here, I find that just driving a few miles (at the most) out of your way will in fact save a lot. It's a matter of not stopping at the gas station in one town and waiting to get to the next town to get gas on the way home from work, or something similar. To be clear, I am not advocating driving miles out of your way to save a penny a gallon. I don't have time for that!

Thanks for reminding us about the other costs of driving too.
-Scott


Posted by: Scott Martin at May 15, 2008 6:49 AM

Don't forget to factor in the true costs of driving an extra distance for cheaper gas. The IRS' mileage allowance of 50 cents per mile includes gas, maintenance, depreciation (the biggest factor), insurance and more, but even they acknowledge that this number is lower than the true cost. You should also factor in your time, the extra gas you burn to get to the destination, and the pollution you generate in driving there. Turns out that unless it's only a very short distance out of your way, you won't usually save money by driving for cheaper gas, and you may wind up paying more.


Posted by: Leszek Pawlowicz at May 5, 2008 1:28 PM
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