Lower Fuel Costs This Fall? It’s Possible.

Save money at the pump this fall with our recommended apps.

Some analysts say that gas prices are expected to dip this fall — possibly at, or below, $3 a gallon. Others say there’s no way they’ll drop that low. With so many hard-to-predict variables, such as the effects from possible hurricanes, a continued downturn in the economy or tensions in the Middle East, it seems like it could be anyone’s guess. However, there are some ways you can take control of your gas use, no matter the price per gallon, such as…

Avoid Construction and Traffic Backups

One of the most convenient aspects of owning and using a GPS device is the ability to keep an eye on — and avoid — construction zones, especially those last-minute road fixes that many towns implement in the fall before winter hits. When you keep maps updated in some embedded and portable GPS systems, long term construction spots are highlighted and detours are offered so you can avoid traffic backups along the way.

Keep Track of Potential Fuel Savings for Your Particular Vehicle

Recent research has proven that driving with navigation helps you find the most efficient routes to your destinations, saving you time, fuel and money. NAVTEQ Maps offers an online savings calculator, based on the Navigation Benefits Study (2009), where you can figure out possible savings from using navigation on your particular vehicle. It’s easy to use: Just enter a few specs and you’ll get specific results, including how much money you should expect to spend on fuel in one year, how much time you’ll save by using your GPS and how many gallons of gas you’ll consume.

Stay Informed with the Latest News on Gas Prices

If you're thinking about an autumn vacation, don’t forget to keep an eye on gas prices in your destination city so you don’t get stuck buying the most expensive gas while on the road. There are a variety of resources online that will keep you in the loop when it comes to the cost of fuel. Here are just a few:

  • Check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s fuel economy website to find the cheapest gas throughout the United States.
  • Get the latest information on gas prices from CNN.
  • ABC News devotes a portion of its website to an archive of articles and videos on gas prices.
  • Motortrend.com also offers an easy-to-use search by state function to find the lowest gas prices across the country.

Smartphone Apps Keep You In-the-Know on the Go

This fall, as you enjoy quick weekend get-aways or long drives in the country to enjoy the changing seasons, the last thing you want to do is pay a fortune for gas. One way to manage your gas budget is to download the free Garmin app — Garmin Smartphone Link — for Android, which helps you analyze your gas use and select the most fuel-efficient route for your travels. Another way to save money is to download a gas-buying app to your smartphone, so you can easily find the cheapest gas wherever you are. The following free apps will help you manage your gas purchases:

  • GasBuddy:

    Available in the U.S. and Canada, consumers use this app to share gas prices near them, which helps everyone save money at the pump.
    Platforms: iPhone, Android and Windows.

  • AAA TripTik Mobile:

    No need to be a AAA member to use this free app, which gives you updated gas prices and also includes hotel, restaurant and attraction information.
    Platforms: iPhone, Android and Windows.

  • Where:

    Although this app is known for finding restaurants and other attractions, it’s becoming quite popular for locating the lowest gas prices throughout the country.
    Platforms: iPhone and Android.