If you are frustrated by rising gas prices that appear to have no end in sight, then join the club. Earlier this month, the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in the US was $3.96 according to AAA. A good number of us rely on our vehicles, so there is no option but to get walloped at the pump. I don’t claim to know the how’s or why’s of gas pricing, but I do know they fluctuate in my area. Using an iPhone gas prices app can help you not only find gas, but find the cheapest gas.

The App Store is crowded. There are hundreds of apps for every purpose under the sun. Want to cut through the clutter? On a regular basis, we pick a category and answer the question “What app would you buy if you could only buy one?” Today, we give you our advice on the best iPhone gas prices app.

GasBuddy: Free
The app boasts a 5-star rating based on over 15,600 users, clearly folks including myself have had great success with GasBuddy. This app has the tagline “Find cheap gas” and it does just that. You can search by city, state or zip or simply select the large ‘Find Gas Near Me’ icon. This brings up tabs for the type of gas that includes Regular, Midgrade, Premium or Diesel. You can set up defaults for how you’d like your search preferences sorted, by either distance or price. The app can also be set to launch with prices near me, likely a popular option for most users.

GasBuddy cheap gas prices app

Membership, Prizes and Gas Price Reports
GasBuddy has a website where membership is entirely free. They use crowd sourcing to provide the latest gas prices, based upon user feedback. To incentivize members to report back prices, they offer prizes which include free gas. Each new member starts with 100 points and you earn 150 points with each report. When you eclipse 1,000 points, you have an opportunity to win $250 in free gas. The only thing better then cheap gas is free gas.

GasBuddy rewards

GasBuddy is free and doesn’t require a membership to take advantage of all of the features. Submitting gas prices does have it’s benefits. Not only are you helping to contribute to the greater good of allowing other members in your community the opportunity to find cheap gas, but you can win prizes. Seems like a good combination.

While the app functions well, the app icon is among the worst of the worst. Thankfully, GasBuddy excels where it counts most and that is finding the best prices on gasoline.

Fuel Finder: $2.99
When you enter the realm of paid apps, you’ll find similar gas finding tools in addition to a vast number of features. Fuel Finder $2.99 offers a very clean interface. Upon launch of the app, you’ll see gas prices from 20 stations in your area. You set the search criteria, which by default is 5 miles. You can choose to view locations on a Google Map. Selecting a gas station will allow you to report a price or find directions, the latter requires you leave the app for Google Maps. It would be great if this app supported popular third party Navigation apps such as Navigon. If you scroll down, you’ll find all of the services at the station, along with the address and map. Throughout the app, you’ll find sharing via email. Why not offer Facebook integration to share on a social network, so your local friends can benefit from your quest for lower cost petrol?

Fuel Finder iPhone app

Based upon your gas mileage and vehicle gas tank size, Fuel Finder will provide you with an estimate of your annual savings, if you were to utilize the lowest price fuel.

One of my personal favorite features of Fuel Finder is the ‘On Fumes’ tab. I often run my tank down to where I’m on fumes and it comes at a time when I’m on a parkway or out of my hometown. This is when I put a premium on finding gas. On Fumes puts your pricing search on hold and finds you the closest gas station.

Fuel Finder On Fumes

SmartFuel (Free 30 days, $2.99 year)
The app SmartFuel is in many ways similar to GasBuddy and FuelFinder, but it offers a layer of features not found in the other apps. When you launch the app, you’ll notice the integration with Contacts allows you ‘Pick Your Destination’. Most people leave their home with a destination in mind and I’ve often found myself mumbling, “I need to get gas on the way”. This app will seek out gas stations on your route.

SmartFuel Cheap Gas Finder

You can also initiate your search based upon fuel type, be it premium, mid-grade, regular E85 or Diesel. As with others, a Find Nearby returns options near your location. You have the choice of List, Map or both in the Hybrid view.

SmartFuel Hybrid view

Gas stations are hardly my ‘Favorites’, but it certainly makes sense to have a list of frequently used stations that you prefer over the others. Plus, Least Worse Stations wouldn’t fit as a tab name.

When you select a station, you can also see how it’s rated in the categories of safety and cleanliness. You can record your purchase and SmartFuel lets you share it over Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. The get directions option also brings up Google Maps, but you don’t have to leave the app, a nice feature.

Gas Station ratings

When it comes to using an iPhone app to find gas prices, all did a very good job. All apps provided similar information, although the freshest data came courtesy of SmartFuel. Whether you use a free or paid app, the savings can be upwards of $300 per year, depending up the type of car you drive and how often you drive. For our money, the best app for finding gas prices is SmartFuel. Not only a beautiful looking app, but it scores high on function. It’s fast, efficient and filled with practical features that will help you navigate the treacherous terrain of finding cheap gas.