App Aims: Fueling Up On The Cheap
In today’s troubled economy, everyone is feeling the pinch at the pump. The iGasUp app by the Oil Price Information Service was introduced to provide you with up-to-the-minute price comparisons of gas stations in your area. The prices are constantly gathered and maintained using electronically transmitted credit card swipe pricing information. It’s important to note that the fee for this app is for a one-year subscription.
- iGas has a good list of features, including:
- Provides time-stamped prices for the ten cheapest stations in the search area
- Sort by fuel type (i.e. diesel, regular, unleaded, or premium)
- Search results provide gasoline brands, station addresses, and up-to-date prices
- Map and driving directions to select stations
- Displayed prices are the same ones used by MapQuest, AAA, Garmin, and Sirius Satellite
The developer has also noted, on the app’s page in iTunes, that in the next update, new features will be included such as station amenities, tap-to-call station phone numbers, and user-defined results sort order. The database is fairly complete but still doesn’t include all of the gas stations in the area. During the review testing period, the app found several stations within range but it didn’t find all. One in particular was just across the road from one that iGasUp did find. The missing station was a well-known national chain, so it should have been in the database. The station’s prices were comparable to its competitor across the street and the business was well within the search radius. The program doesn’t allow you to define the search radius nor does it give you distances to the gas stations—an important bit of information you should have available, especially if you’re running on fumes.
iGasUp’s interface is rather clunky and awkward to use. The turn-by-turn driving directions are useless because you must tap the screen for each successive turn—dangerous to do while driving, which is when you need the individual steps. The map portion of the app needs a lot of work. It may be far better to link to Google Maps for that particular component rather than doing it from within the app.
The look and feel of the iGasUp app is very utilitarian with no visual appeal at all. Beyond the red app icon, the colors are boring. The buttons are small, as is the text. Trying to read the date/time stamp or the address of the station are headache-inducing exercises. Enlarging each station’s information pane and increasing the text size will improve readability, and adding color behind the station’s name will definitely spice up the presentation of the information.
The app crashed repeatedly when using it for a period of time. And rebooting the device did not fix the problem either.
iGasUp provides support to the user via email through a website. The developers also feature an information page about the app on their website, but it provides no new information beyond what was posted in iTunes with their app.
iGasUp’s value is apparent. At $2.99, the app will pay for itself the first few times you use it. It does require an annual subscription fee to renew, but if you choose not to use it, you don’t have to sign up again. It is well worth the cost when you weigh it against the potential savings it will provide.
Paying too much at the pump is never a good situation. iGasUp has a lot of potential for being the solution to that problem. The database it uses to provide results is much more reliable and comprehensive than other competing apps use. Refining the interface and incorporating some missing features will make it a must-have application for your iPhone.