Easy ways to save money on everyday gas purchases - The UpStream

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Easy ways to save money on everyday gas purchases

posted Wednesday Jun 22, 2022 by Scott Ertz

When it comes to gas prices, the last 18 months have been incredibly difficult. It seems like every time we go outside, the price of gas has risen once again. There was a joke going around that by the end of this sentence the price of gas will have risen another 20 cents. And while we may not have any control over the price of gas or the factors that are causing it to rise, there are some platforms that we can use to counteract those prices.


The most popular way to find the cheapest gas prices in your area is with GasBuddy. The app has been around for years and has a decent track record of accurate prices, though it is important to note that much of the data is crowd-sourced, so be prepared for some surprises. You simply open the app and it uses your current location to find the prices of gas around you.

However, GasBuddy has a crazy privacy policy. It tracks a ton of behavior about you, including GPS location and more - all identifiable. The company shares data with Cuebiq and Foursquare, two large data brokers, and makes about $10 per one thousand users whenever it sells that data. There is also a feature called Drive which shares a ton of data about your driving habits with Arity, owned by Allstate.


Another popular way for users to find the cheapest gas is with Upside (formerly GetUpside). Similar to how GasBuddy works, the app will use your current GPS location to show you the best prices of gas around. However, unlike GasBuddy, Upside shows you a price that reflects the current price minus a discount that will be returned to you within a few days. You can also apply this to restaurants and grocery stores, not just gas stations. Your balance can be cashed out to a bank account or a variety of gift card options, including Amazon, Starbucks, or Walmart.

As with GasBuddy, the app collects location data to provide local information. However, according to the company's privacy policy, it does not track your location outside of the app. You can connect partial card numbers for convenience but can also opt to upload receipts instead. Upside gives a lot of options on its usage parameters to protect privacy.

It is important to note that not all gas stations, restaurants, or grocery stores are applicable in the platform. The setup appears to be a direct relationship between the retailers and Upside. In our area, Shell, Circle K, and Speedway appear to be the big relationships, though it may vary by region, as we can also see Citgo, Exxon, and RaceTrac in smaller quantities.

Gas Station Rewards

Many gas station brands have their own rewards services. Some provide some cash back, some give direct discount up front, and some require certain actions to get the discount. For example, Fuel Rewards from Shell has different tiers of rewards. Gold Members get at least 5 cents per gallon while Silver gets 3 cents. However, partnerships can enhance it (check out T-Mobile Tuesdays for an extra 20 cents per gallon). RaceTrac Rewards gives you points for every dollar you spend, but VIP members save per gallon.

The biggest issue with this option is that each company has its own program and they do not reward evenly or together. However, if you choose a particular brand and go with it, you should be able to earn your rewards or discounts quickly. But you can also stack these rewards with some of the other options, such as Fetch, to compound your earnings.

Fetch Rewards

This one is not purely gas-centric, but Fetch Rewards is a good way to get some money back on your purchases. You simply take photos of your receipts (called a snap) and receive points for doing so. You can also attach some digital storefronts, such as Amazon, and get points for each order. Under normal circumstances, the points are not high - 25 points per receipt. So, for every forty receipts you receive $1 dollar worth of value.

However, there are some ways to earn large point bonuses for certain products. On the Discover tab of the app, you can see products that are currently being promoted and the bonus points you will receive for a snap with that product or for signing up for a service from the app.

The company's privacy policy is fairly open, though not nearly as much as GasBuddy. In fact, the data that is collected is fairly standard - including GPS location while using the app. But, the basis of the program is the sharing of information - companies do not provide you points for not sharing information. So, when you interact with one of the company's brand partners, you are agreeing to share information with those brands.


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