|There’s a lot of dubious info on the web intended to up your MPG—plenty of filler sites and repetitive tips from self-proclaimed experts. Below, we’ve rounded up the sites that will help you stay a few bucks richer when filling the tank. Sorry, OPEC members—guess you’ll have to skip that fifth Ferrari.
1) GasBuddy.comGasBuddy, which may be the most popular gas price site on the web, offers user-reported gas prices for all 50 U.S. states and Canada. Search by zip code or city and state to zero in on the cheapest prices. The site draws data from 181 local sites for major metropolitan areas, but GasBuddy’s popularity—about 750,000 price spotters—suggests that even rural users will be able to find cheap local gas.A WAP version—a stripped-down version of the site designed for use on mobile phones—was recently launched at GasBuddyToGo.com. Sign up for SMS updates of lowest local prices by sending your zip code or city and state in a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Location-based widget bundle WHERE also includes a mobile version of GasBuddy. (Check with your cell service provider for usage costs.)
|2) Gaspricewatch.comLike GasBuddy, GasPriceWatch.com relies on info from volunteer price spotters—about 167,000 spotters keeping an eye on around 130,000 gas stations. Gaspricewatch says that they get 3 million unique page views a month from around 700,000 users. Either click on the map (powered by Google Maps) or enter the address to drill down to the cheapest local prices. A mobile version is bundled with the GetMobio mobile app package (free to download; use with your mobile internet service).|
|3) EHow’s Car Maintenance pages & Carbibles.comTaking better care of your car means better gas mileage. You don’t need to pour Evian in the coolant reservoir, but keeping on top of regular maintenance can mean major savings over time. Check out EHow’s guides to basic car care; just be sure to cross reference it. Anybody can write these things, after all. Use carbibles.com to double-check—it’s a master reference of how cars work written by a single author.|
|4) Gas widget for MacsThis simple, free Dashboard widget displays the lowest gas price in your zip code with info drawn from gaspricewatch.com. Click the number at the upper right of the widget to scroll through local options. Double click the station address to Google Map it. In addition, the widget offers a calculator we haven’t seen anywhere else. Input your gas tank size, average MPG, and how full your tank is; the calculator will tell you the number of miles you can travel on your current fill, as well as value you’re getting compared with the national average (check the star gauge on the right). Visit developer Jason Barry’s page for more info.|
|5) Gas Alert Savings widget for Mac & PC
Image source: http://l.yimg.com/static.widgets.yahoo.com/shots/42018-shot.jpgThere seems to be a bevy of broken Yahoo! widgets for gas savings last time we checked, but this widget from Automotive.com delivers the goods. During testing on our Mac it took a bit of finagling to get the exact lowest prices displaying, but it did work. You’ll need to install the Yahoo! widget dock and keep it enabled to use it.
|6) Political Calculations’ calculatorsBlog Political Calculations specializes in analyzing the economy for John Q. Netizen and creating hands-on web tools that save money. Three of Political Calculations’s calculators should cumulatively offer you a goldmine of gas savings. You’re welcome.
Should you move closer to work to save on commuting costs?
Should you trade in your gas guzzler?
How to save money on gas without driving less (Hint: drive slower)
|7) FuelFrog.comAre you one of those people who keeps a notebook in your glove compartment, logging each fill and calculating fluctuations in MPG? We thought not. FuelFrog.com lets you track your fuel economy over time with Twitter. After fueling up, pull out your cell phone and tweet the number of miles you traveled on your last tank, the current price per gallon, and the number of gallons. It beats that sticky Hannah Montana pen and notebook you swiped from your kid.|
|8) Cleanmpg.comIf you’re handy underneath the hood and committed to saving money on as a lifestyle, you need to know about cleanmpg.com. An active and activist user community discusses hypermiling—the practice of maximizing the gas mileage of a car—and proudly shows off modded cars.|
|9) Gassavers.orgA community committed to ultra gas savings by any means—wearing ice vests instead of using AC?—gassavers.org doesn’t boast as sleek a design as Cleanmpg, but it’s equally serious about results. If you can roll with the self-proclaimed Right Lane Rollers, join their fantasy football-style fuel economy challenge.|
|10) IndexCreditCards.comIf you’re savvy about their use and read all of the fine print, gas company credit cards can help take the sting out of gas prices with cash back and frequent buyer rewards. Pundits warn that you might not be saving as much as you think you are, so check IndexCreditCards.com for a detailed, if somewhat plainwrap, listing of cards and their benefits.|
|11) Traffic.comIdling in traffic wastes gas—check out this MSN piece if you doubt it—and who loves traffic anyway? The aptly named Traffic.com details local potentially-jam-causing events like concerts, sporting events and roadwork and helps you plan a low stress route. If you frequently drive a certain route, you can map it and request SMS alerts when backups occur.|
|12) Bedandbreakfast.com & BBOnline.comPlanning a romantic getaway? B&Bs across the country are giving away free gas to stir up business. Check either of the sites above for details—most of the inns require a minimum two-night stay to get the deal.|
|13) MobileTraffic.tvToronto-based MobileTraffic.tv uses your WAP-enabled phone and traffic cameras to let you see conditions along your route. Launched in May of 2008, the newborn site has limited offerings outside of major metropolitan areas, but plans on expanding rapidly.|
|14) Edmunds.com: “We Test the Tips”Still fresh after three years, this article from November 2005 tests the most common “facts” on driving tips that save gas. You’ll be surprised at their finding on the windows down vs. AC conundrum. Overall verdict: drive safely and take care of your car.|
|15) Fueleconomy.govThe feds, via the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, have created this master site for maximizing your fuel efficiency. Compare vehicles if you’re pondering a new set of wheels, read up on alternate energy and check out tips for making the most of your gasoline dollar.|
|16) EPA’s consumer siteA listing of eco-friendly car studies, the EPA’s site for consumers includes fuel economy studies and emissions data from the 1980s to the present. Along with consumer friendly fact sheets, you’ll find serious reports for the green policy wonk.|
|17) Car Talk’s Guide to Better Fuel EconomyThe web is full of dubious info on how to up your MPG, so why not consult someone who actually knows cars? Tom and Ray Magliozzi, also known as Click and Clack, are two entertaining brothers who write the column “Car Talk” and host an NPR show. Their tips, illustrated with colorful cartoons, puncture myths and offer a few chuckles.If you are interested in saving money on gas, surely you are interested in saving money on hotel rooms. Book here to find the best deals.|