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GasBuddy app: Saving on gas prices no matter where you go

Log in to shop around
Log in to shop around
(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Chicago can't seem to catch a break. First there was the snowstorm with approximately 10 inches of snow during the first week of January. Then there were freezing temperatures of 13 degrees below zero (with a wind chill factor of 34 to 37 degrees below zero). Now CBS Chicago is reporting the weather created a gas shortage in some areas, but at least the Smartphone app GasBuddy can help drivers.

Hawaii used to top all other U.S. states when it came to gas prices, but Chicago was not to be outdone. In 2012, the Windy City topped the islands for highest gas prices in the nation. Traveling sites, such as Mapquest, give tips on low gas prices, but GasBuddy does something a little different.

This app gives gas prices in real time and not just by computer. Real people are typing in the gas prices and literally being buddies to each other, giving other drivers the scoop on where the best deals are. Check out the gallery (above) to find out why GasBuddy is a useful app for economical driving.

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Log in to shop around
Log in to shop around (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Log in to shop around

Log in the GasBuddy app free of charge, and search for gas prices by your ZIP code or your city. Gas prices can be arranged by distance or from highest to lowest.

GPS options can identify location
GPS options can identify location (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

GPS options can identify location

If you're traveling and aren't sure what exact city you're in or what the closest ZIP code is, choose the "Find Gas Near Me" option, and your Smartphone will identify the closest stations on its own.

Shop gas prices by type
Shop gas prices by type (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Shop gas prices by type

The GasBuddy app will list gas prices for Regular, Midgrade, Premium and Diesel types. Just click on each tab and prices can be arranged by location and/or highest to lowest prices.

Find a gas station location
Find a gas station location (Shamontiel L. Vaughn)

Find a gas station location

If there's a gas station you want to drive to but you have no idea where it is, click on that gas station, and choose "Directions." Then choose which traveling app (ex. "Maps," "Scout," "TeleNav GPS Navigator") you'd like to use to guide you to that gas station. GasBuddy also includes a phone number to the gas station should you need to call.

Help other buddies out by reporting gas prices
Help other buddies out by reporting gas prices (Shamontiel L. Vaughn)

Help other buddies out by reporting gas prices

If you go to a gas station and see the prices are inaccurate, just choose the "Update" option and change the gas prices to the new prices. Or, if you really want to be helpful, update gas prices even when you don't need gas. Avoid texting while driving though. Just keep a mental note or use your hands-free device to remember to update the gas prices once you're in a safe place. GasBuddy app works through automation and human interaction combined. If you see gas prices that are routinely inaccurate, don't hesitate to report it. GasBuddy will be on the lookout for users who purposely enter the wrong prices as a joke or to trick you into going to certain gas stations.

Click a pic, help a buddy
Click a pic, help a buddy (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Click a pic, help a buddy

While you're waiting to fill up your tank, feel free to snap a photo of the gas station you're in. There's an "Upload Station Photo" for gas stations that don't have a photo on file. Just glance to see if the gas station you're in already has one or not.