With the most recent crisis in fuel prices, I installed GasBuddy on my phone and have used it to help find lower gas prices. I’ve even setup their debit card feature to pay through them for additional savings. GasBuddy sends an automated Fuel Savings Summary email a couple days after fill-up telling the buyer how much money they saved using GasBuddy. The problem is that GasBuddy falsifies the savings in these summary reports.
Fuel Savings Summary
Here I provide an actual sample of the Fuel Savings Summary sent by GasBuddy. Naturally, I removed some personally identifying information to protect my family.
Station Loyalty Savings
In the example screen capture shown here, you’ll notice the line item “Station Loyalty Savings” for the dramatic discount of US$30.10.
Pay close attention to the product, price and quantity on this savings summary. That data is accurate. In this purchase, I topped off my tank with 2.805 Gallons of gasoline at the price of US$4.499 per gallon. That amounts to US$12.62. This before the GasBuddy Savings of US$0.05 (five cents, total).
The twelve bucks of fuel is what it cost me, regardless of whether I used GasBuddy or not. It’d be awesome if I received the thirty dollar loyalty discount shown in the savings summary email. Then they would have owed me money for the fuel up!
In the application on my phone, GasBuddy promised me US$0.05 savings per gallon. In the above savings summary, I was only awarded five cents total discount instead of the US$0.14 I was due.
The information falsified by GasBuddy in this sample is not unique. The “Station Loyalty Savings” amount from the purchase matches in every single summary email I have received from them. The GasBuddy savings promised in the phone app has not matched reality in any of my purchases.
I have reached out to GasBuddy for an explanation of my observation. They have yet to provide an explanation at all, let alone a viable one.
In-App Data may be Incorrect
One of the key features of GasBuddy is it tells users the “current” gasoline price at various nearby fuel stations. This is based on user submitted price reports or otherwise based on actual price when the GasBuddy card is used. Intuitive and reliable, right? Almost.
Going back to my sample earlier in this post, you’ll notice that I paid US$4.499 per gallon for the gasoline. As a result of this purchase, the application updated this as the current price at this station. The next customer that comes to the station as a result of this report will get burned with a US$4.799 per gallon price tag. This scenario has actually happened to me when I first started using GasBuddy.
Why did that happen, you ask? GasBuddy does not know that the price at the pump was adjusted just for me. A one time savings of thirty cents per gallon, because of me using the store’s frequent buyer reward points at this fill station.1
When scouting in GasBuddy for fuel prices be wary of significant price differences at one station, in five or ten cents variables. These may have been rewards just to one user at that station.
The GasBuddy application and service can save money at the pump. Be aware that gas prices may fluctuate rapidly or may be special cases. Be careful that the savings summary email received may have falsified information.