Memorial Day weekend usually marks the beginning of the summer vacation months, warm weather, remembrance, outlet store sales and of course, travel. Many Americans will be hopping in their cars this weekend and beginning the summertime tradition of family vacations to visit friends, beaches and other spots … while also trying to make sure that they spend their money wisely.
Gas prices are not as high this year as they were one year ago (when they hit an average of $3.50 in April of 2008), but average prices have jumped about $0.30 per gallon over the course of the last month according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report.
Fortunately, there are some ways to preplan our gas buying before Memorial Day Weekend, especially taking advantage of search engines and search functions. Several search engine powered sites track the prices of gas nationwide and can help us all save thousands of dollars every year, here are some of them.
- GasBuddy : Local search based network of more than 180 different sites which track gas prices on the local level. GasBuddy compares states and national averages from year to year and includes zip code search. Tracks by service station location, areas of town, the time the price was recorded, and which volunteer gave the price.
- Yahoo Search Shortcut : If you find the GasBuddy.com site too difficult or time consuming to navigate, just search for “gas price” + location on Yahoo Search and their shortcut will give your the link to GasBuddy.com results in your neighborhood.
- GasPriceWatch : Google Maps Mashup which highlights specific locations in your neighborhood, route or destination that offer the lowest gas prices. Although the Google Maps mashup makes searching for gas prices incredibly easy, the information served is sometimes quite old, with some gas prices being served from 4 days ago (when gas was 3 cents cheaper anywhere). Still useful however if prices are updated in your area and since this uses a Google API, you can search by zip code, town name or state.
- MapQuest Gas Finder : AOL owned MapQuest offers the MapQuest Gas Price Finder which allows users search for the cheapest prices for gas, diesel or alternative fuels. This tool is integrated with MapQuest’s Directions, which makes it easy for travelers to preplan gas stops along their route.
- MSN Autos Gas Prices : Microsoft’s MSN Autos channel compiles gas prices every evening to deliver a very user friendly gas price comparison experience, complete with a gas price list and mapping technology. Unlike other services which use volunteers to monitor gas price changes, MSN prices are provided by OPIS. OPIS tracks more than 90,000 daily retail gasoline prices, and 70,000 rack and spot prices for heating oil, gasoline, diesel, kerosene, jet fuel, LP-Gas, residual fuel, natural gas and ethanol.
- Motor Trend : MotorTrend.com also has a very simple to use gas price checker which reports gas prices on the local level and is updated daily. Not too many bells and whistles on this site, just direct information.
Have some other favorite gas prices search engines or tips on saving travel money via online tools? Then please feel free to share them in the comments below.