Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The following was a post I wrote for Earth2Tech because I thought it was recent news but apparently this thing has actually been around since January. Oh well. It's still pretty cool, and for those of you who have been to Sioux Falls, South Dakota I hope you appreciate the choice of map selection.

Find the Cheapest Gas or Biofuel with MapQuest

Looking to save a few pennies at the pump? MapQuest has a great feature MapQuest: Gas Prices that allows you to search for the cheapest fuel in your area. Simply enter your zip code and your preferred fuel grade, and MapQuest spits back the prices of the nearest 100+ gas stations, with the dated fuel prices, which you can sort by price or distance.

While MapQuest still suffers from a clunky interface, their new fuel price locater is extremely robust and comprehensive. Not only can you search for gas by fuel grade, but you can search for your favorite alternative fuel -- including biodiesel, E-85, hydrogen, and CNG. You can even use it to find charging stations for your EV. It gives you cool stats like national gas price highs ($4.05 a gallon in Kailua Kona, Hawaii) and lows ($2.40 in Hamel, Minn.), and offers a gas calculator that will calculate the price of a trip.

I'm really enjoying playing around with this tool -- seeing what E-85 is going for in the Midwest, for example, and checking out where one can get hydrogen in California. It's not perfect, however. While good for locating biofuel pumps, it doesn't always include prices; in some cases the prices haven't been updated in months. Still, as someone who grew up in a family that religiously records gas prices and mileage in a notebook in the glove box, this really excites me. What if, every time you fill up at the pump, your car's onboard computer could record all that data and chart it for your on a maplet that you could pull up whenever you're running near E?

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