Gassing Up Your Car, Via The Internet

paying for gas with credit card

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been cringing every time my gas tank gets near empty – and it is not because of a frigid winter. As gas prices go up, I find myself trying to pay attention to the best price on a gallon of gas in my neighborhood. I am not doing a good job of remembering what I see.

Thanks to sites like gasbuddy.com, I don’t need to remember anymore. It is one of several sites that have emerged to educate value-conscious consumers where they can find the cheapest gallon of gas in their neighborhood. So, how are the most recent gas price spikes treating GasBuddy.com?

daily reach for gasbuddy

GasBuddy has been one of the clear benefactors over the last month as gas has surged north of $100 a barrel. Daily traffic is nearly 3-4 times higher than it was just four weeks ago.

The traffic itself confirmed my hypothesis, but it is interesting to see the demographic of visitors to the site and how it compares to the IBP.

GasBuddy is attracting the largest percentage of its traffic from households with lower incomes, but it is interesting that when you compare to the IBP that it is attracting a much higher share of visitors whose income is greater than 100K.

income for gasbuddy

GasBuddy is also attracting a much younger demographic compared to the IBP. This tells me that people who are most reliant on fixed budgets – younger families, baby boomers and retirees – are much more budget conscious.

age for gasbuddy

So what does this latest gas price spike mean for retailers? I have two perspectives:

For bricks and mortar retailers: I’d love to partner with Gasbuddy.com and get this interface/data integrated on my site. Imagine if someone could not only search for your store, but also find the cheapest tank of gas in close proximity? This could be particularly beneficial to wholesale clubs and grocery stores who often tout the gas benefits of being a member.

For online retailers: It will be interesting to see how overall Internet traffic changes if we hit $3.75-$4.00 / gallon of gas. I would not be surprised if we start seeing people spending more money on online with their favorite retailers to avoid making a trip to the store. Maybe this is a chance for grocery chains to finally crack a market that they have not had overwhelming success with nationally – buy your groceries online and save a few bucks on the gas it takes to come visit us.