The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

June 3, 2014

I’m the king of the world, or at least I am at the local gas station

Sunday, June 1, 2014 — It’s been nearly two months since I got my new smartphone.

Buying this phone turned out to be one of the best choices I’ve made in a while – outside of marrying my wife (our anniversary is Wednesday, so I better get that in).

This thing is incredible. I can use it to get news all the time (USA Today sends me more updates than Facebook gamers send requests). Speaking of games, I can play them in my spare time ... which ... just ... happened.

Oh well.

But I can look up all kinds of things that I would had to have waited until I got to a desktop computer. In this day and age of instant information, that’s proving to be very valuable.

No more waiting until I get into work to find out who won the the Sprint Cup race ... cause it seems nobody around here carries the races on radio on a regular basis. That in itself should be a crime punishable by death.

And speaking of the radio, I can now listen to several of my favorite shows on the way to and from my jobs, church or anywhere else I’m going. The Stitcher app is incredible and allows me to do this anytime I want.

I love listening to Clark Howard for my financial tips and other things important to everyday life. AMC Movie Talk is something else I listen to all the time for movie news and other conversations. I also really like listening to Tony Kornheiser, he of the “PTI” fame on ESPN. He does a morning radio show that’s good for laughs when you don’t want to just listen to someone talk about sports.

But one thing I’ve really gravitated to on this smartphone is an app I’ve used many times on my other computers but never interacted with until now. It’s GasBuddy.

For those of you who don’t know, GasBuddy is a website where you can report gas prices on a regular basis. There are other versions of this useful site, but GasBuddy is the top fuel, so to say.

The site was founded by Dustin Coupal and Jason Toews back in April 2000 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In March of 2013, GasBuddy was purchased by a private company in Rockville, Maryland.

The site really started to take off once smartphones began being used widely around the world. It’s estimated well over 5 million people log in at any point and time to report prices.

That includes me. I used to just check out the site, when I could remember, to see if there was any cheap gas on the way to or from work.

Now, with my smartphone, doing this has become more than just a casual thing to do when driving by a gas station. It’s well more than just a hobby to pass the time driving to and from work.

No, this task has become my calling in life.

I am totally obsessed with GasBuddy and reporting prices now.

Like most people, I like to save a buck when I shop. That also applies to getting the best price on gas. But, obviously, I don’t want to drive all around town finding those prices.

GasBuddy has allowed me to report the prices of the stations I pass almost daily. Just a few clicks and not only am I reporting the up-to-date prices, I’m also passing along valuable information to others who use the service.

In this day of superhero movies, you can call me the Gas Man.

Or maybe not.

The point is, I REALLY enjoy using this app on my phone. I drive by around 25-30 gas stations almost daily. Over time, I’ve logged in and reported those prices each and every time.

There are two really neat things about reporting gas prices. The biggest thing is you collect points which you can use to enter drawings for a weekly $250 gas card. I know someone who won one of these things, and he was just casually posting prices on the site. He was nowhere near as driven as I am.

Imagine how many gas cards I could win if I decided to take my thousands and thousands of points and turn them in. But for now, I just like looking as the numbers change. It’s sort of like watching the odometer on your car roll over to 100,000. Except I’m way past that.

The second thing, and this is the part I like the most, is you can be the “champ” of a particular station.

If you go on GasBuddy and check out some of the stations in and around Stanly County, you’ll see I’ve done quite well at providing the community with a service of excellence by reporting prices. I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging, but I am the “champ” at well over 20 gas stations not only in Stanly County but also in Cabarrus County and the Charlotte area.

Look ma, I’m the king of the world. Or at least at the local gas station. The only thing I can’t do is take a good selfie, as my mug shot on GasBuddy looks like I’m peering down a manhole or something.

I’ve gone out of my way on numerous situations to get a gas price. I can recall at least one time recently where I went looking for a gas price because I saw a new station had just opened in Charlotte just off my usual driving route.

Unfortunately for me, when I saw the lights of the station in the distance, I got lost trying to find it on my own. Lucky for me is I had a GPS on the phone and GasBuddy also provided a map to the station.

So those pennies I was saving to get cheap gas I sometimes burn to get gas prices updated at the stations where I’m “champ.” But hey, duty calls.

My wife and I will be on vacation this week. Hopefully, I’ll still be wearing the title belt at these gas stations when I return. And hopefully, I can log in a few other places and report prices to and from our vacation destination.

Because I want to be able to say that when it comes to reporting prices, nobody has more gas than me.

Or maybe not.

To submit story ideas, contact Jason O. Boyd at jason@stanlynewspress com or (704) 982-2121 ext. 21.

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