Services & Software

BillShrink gas savings app considers your commute

Online savings adviser BillShrink has launched a new commute-based gas savings calculator.

Personal savings site BillShrink has a new feature: a gasoline pricing database that directs you to gas stations based on the route you take on your daily commute, not just how close you are to the stations.

The Web app isn't just for finding prices. It actually helps you plan your refueling stops along the way. You start by telling it about your car and its mileage, and your home and work addresses. You get back a results page that shows you a Google Map of all the gas stations along your route. You can zoom in and out to expand or limit the search area.

Beneath the map is a listing of all the gas stations BillShrink was able to find, followed by their location, price, and amenities. I found the design of the results pages simple and helpful.

BillShrink's results page is well done. Don Reisinger/CNET

It is a good new take on the gas price-finding trope but, depending on how long your commute is, it may be overkill for the cost savings it yields. While BillShrink's tool calculates the real cost of gas by taking into consideration the distance to the station, most of the results I saw in a demo showed a difference of only a few cents. Peter Pham, the company's founder, told me that BillShrink will be able to save people $200 per year in gas costs, assuming distances are long and prices are different. In my trial, the price difference between the closest station and those that were farthest away was less than 10 cents. BillShrink's demo didn't convince me that I would need the tool to help me save a significant amount of money.

Worse, it's only available on the BillShrink site, which means you can't send it to your GPS device or access it while on the road, unless you have Web access on your smartphone.

I do admire the fact that its gasoline price database takes into account more than just per-gallon prices, though. BillShrink's Gas Savings tool should be available now on the company's site. If you want to try it out, it will require an e-mail address to register.