‘We call it gas. You call it fuel.’ This is just one of the changes that fuel comparison site GasBuddy made to their app when they decided to launch here in Australia. Though the name won’t change — GasBuddy is after all the brand — the idea of saving as much on fuel as possible is a universal language.
GasBuddy is now available on Google Play (and the app store) in Australia, but it was founded back in 2000 in the United States by Dustin Coupal and Jason Toews. The duo set up a collection of websites to let consumers compare the price of fuel at service stations around them, but adopted to mobile quickly launching an app for Android – yes, Android first – in August 2009.
Community driven, GasBuddy relies on input from users to show their fellow community the best price for fuel around them. Their mission is simple:
Our mission is to serve the public by providing a real time gas prices forum so that consumers can have access to the information necessary to locate the lowest fuel prices available. By working together as a community everyone will save money at the pumps.
Why Australia? Nic Moulis, Country Manager for GasBuddy Australia is well poised to answer that question. He spent 22 years working in the Australiasian petroleum industry before bringing his knowledge to bear on GasBuddy’s launch in Australia.
GasBuddy spent considerable time developing the GasBuddy app for the Australian market. The obvious swap out in the app is ‘Gas’ for ‘Fuel’, but we also talk about litres and cents per litre rather than gallons and dollars per gallon. They also built a database of the over 6,000 service stations in Australia for members to add prices to.
The similarities in our language was also a driving force for a launch here in Australia. Nic also says the importance of fuel prices in Australia is highly important to Australians, with reporting on fuel pricing appearing sometimes daily in the news. The similarities in markets between the US and Australia also meant an easier transition for GasBuddy before they look to a further global expansion.
The app sign on process is delightfully simple, you can sign up with an email account or your Google or Facebook account, select a username and you’re away. Users can report the price of all the types of fuel: Unleaded, E10, Premium 95/98, Diesel and of course LPG. The quality of the app itself is great, with an easy to use interface letting you select the type of fuel you want and list prices by distance or price.
Fuel price reporting can be a chore, but GasBuddy has two approaches to encourage their community to report prices. First they give away $100 worth of fuel every day and they’ve also gamified their reporting using leader boards with users gain points for reporting fuel prices, and GasBuddy will soon introduce challenges which can earn more points on top of their reporting. It’s all about the win right?
Nic says that the pricing reported isn’t just thrown out there it’s checked by an algorithm developed in the US and refined over the years to make sure the prices are legitimate. Location and the points status of the GasBuddy community member reporting the price is checked, and trends in fuel pricing in the market are also checked to ensure prices are correct.
GasBuddy is aiming to build a strong community here in Australia, market wise, they would expect to see up to 2-3 million registered users, with around 1 million active users at any one time. They’re off to a good start too, with GasBuddy already the number 1 trending app on the Apple app store as of last night.
To encourage new users, GasBuddy is signing up foundation members with the first 10,000 members getting access to new features before they go live as well as special prize drawings, exclusive GasBuddy events, meet-ups and more; which could include being invited to special pricing events at service stations and other partnerships with companies like Uber.
While the focus is initially on mobile, GasBuddy will be looking at a second tier of interaction down the track, with a fuel map similar to the one used on the GasBuddy site in the US. But they want to ensure a ‘high note’ when they launch a new service such as this.
The app is live now with users reporting fuel pricing already and I saved a few cents per litre last night by going only slightly out of my way. The app is available now for free on Google Play, if you want to try it out and get in fast to become a foundation member, download it now and check it out.