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Smartphone apps ease some of the pain of record high gas prices

October 06, 2012|By Ronald D. White
  • Signs at this Sunset Oil and Mini Mart in West Hollywood show the spike in gas prices in California. Smartphone apps can help motorists avoid the worst and find the best prices in a state where they range from $3.99 to $6.30 a gallon.
Signs at this Sunset Oil and Mini Mart in West Hollywood show the spike in… (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles…)

You're driving downtown for an evening at L.A. Live when you realize your gas tank is almost empty. The Shell station within sight has a price of $5.19 for a gallon of regular. What do you do?

Use a smartphone app and save yourself some change, like as much as 70 cents a gallon.

The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in California hit a new record today of $4.614, but there can be a disturbing range of fuel prices out there.

In California, for example, pump prices ranged from a low of $3.99 a gallon at two service stations in San Diego to a palpably absurd $6.30 a gallon at a service station in Brawley.

Some of the best apps out there to help motorists save a little money are also free, which is even better.

GasBuddy.com has a legion of price spotters on the roads in North America. You don't have to agree to report anything in order to be able to use the Gas Buddy App, which works on Android, Apple, Blackberry and Windows phones. The app can be downloaded here.

If you were in downtown L.A., for example, the Gas Buddy app would have told you to skip that $5.19 station in favor of four retail sites -- a Valero, an American Gas, a USA Gasoline and a Pacific Pride -- within eight miles or less that were selling regular for $4.49 a gallon.

Another popular app is offered by Mapquest. The iPhone version of the Mapquest gas price app can be found here. The Android version can be found here.

Different apps result in different gas stations but, in this case, Mapquest directs drivers to the same $4.49 a gallon price, at a USA Petroleum station on Figueroa Street.

ALSO:

Why gas prices are so high

Costco's gas stations are open

Gas prices set a record in California

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