The success of GNU/Linux, free software, and open source have inspired a whole new generation of collaborative projects. Wikipedia, the online user-editable encyclopedia, is now the 6th most trafficked website in the world, according to Alexa. I have been extremely frustrated by high gas prices, so much so that I seeked out a powerful application to come to the rescue. The app that I found is called GasBuddy, and it is available for our beloved Android operating system, as well as for the Iphone. In The Linux Week in Review 42, I will describe what GasBuddy is, and how it can help you to use the collaborative concepts behind GNU/Linux and Wikipedia to save money on gas.
GasBuddy Demo Video (Sorry, for the shaky video. This was my first video done with a mobile camera.)
GasBuddy Overcomes Gas Price Gouging
One thing is very clear when I pore over the data that I receive from GasBuddy: a lot of companies overcharge for gas. How can one station charge $3.65 for a gallon of gas when a station less than a mile away can afford to sell that same gallon for $3.43? Inefficiency? Greed? It is probably a combination of factors. GasBuddy allows me to avoid the companies and stations that can’t get their act together. Because of GasBuddy’s crowdsourcing nature, it will hopefully force overpriced stations to lower their prices. Any GasBuddy user can update the prices at any station in the database. A user can also recommend stations be added to the database if they are not there already. To update the price, you must sign up with a username and password, so anyone abusing the system (e.g. by putting in false data) can be banned.
Navigating to Save Gas
One of GasBuddy’s greatest features is its ability to help you navigate to cheap gas. Hitting the “Directions” button in GasBuddy brings up your default navigation app, which can then navigate you to the gas station of your choice. I use Google Maps Navigation (a free application) to navigate me to the cheapest gas station, as determined by GasBuddy. I save a little bit of money each time I buy gas, but this small amount adds up over time. I also gain points in the GasBuddy system. These points can be used to enter raffles for the opportunity to win prizes.
The success of GasBuddy will probably cause a lot more applications to follow the crowdsourcing example. Groupon is one huge example of people lowering the prices that they pay by forming collective groups. Though GasBuddy and GNU/Linux may appear unrelated on the surface, the same concepts empower both of them. If you want to try GasBuddy yourself, it is available in the Google Play Store and in the Iphone App Store.
I look forward to seeing you in TLWIR 43!