GasBuddy, a smartphone app connecting nearly 70 million drivers with their “Perfect Pit Stop,” is warning motorists in the states whose fuel supplies were impacted by recent Hurricanes Harvey and Irma to be vigilant at the pump as they refuel in the aftermath of the storms.
GasBuddy’s data suggests that some gas stations are taking advantage of imbalances to supply and demand to materially increase prices, with stations in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas priced 20 cents or more above their state averages.
“Our data shows that while price gouging has taken place in the affected areas, it’s on a fairly limited basis,” said Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy. “That’s the good news. What we are seeing is tantamount to ‘death by a thousand paper cuts.’ Which is to say, stations are taking advantage of the current state of supply and demand, driven by life-threatening circumstances, to raise prices in a more imperceptible way that’s still adverse to motorists, particularly in these dire circumstances.”
On a state-by-state basis, GasBuddy data indicates that:
In Florida, 24 percent of stations are 20 cents or more above the state average of $2.71. The highest price in the state is $4.37.
In Georgia, 20 percent of stations are 20 cents or more above the state average of $2.75. The highest price in the state is currently $3.99.
In South Carolina, 20 percent of stations are 20 cents or more above the state average of $2.54. The highest price in the state is currently $3.79.
In North Carolina, 20 percent of stations are 20 cents or more above the state average of $2.63. The highest price in the state is $4.09.
In Texas, 21 percent of stations are 20 cents or more above the state average of $2.53. The highest price in the state is $3.99.
GasBuddy protecting consumers with new price ‘gouge’ feature
To help protect motorists, GasBuddy has added a new feature within its smartphone app that enables consumers in affected areas to take and submit photos of station prices that appear to be abnormally high (i.e. more than $1.50 above what would be considered “normal” for the area). This will enable GasBuddy to further certify and verify that the millions of price reports its apps receive each day are accurate, no matter how high the price reported is.
GasBuddy’s crowdsourced data alerts motorists to nearby stations and the availability and price of motor fuels, power outages and other essential services at these stations. According to GasBuddy, the app has proved critical during hurricane season, when record numbers of motorists downloaded and utilized the app, making it the No. 2 app on iOS, and the No. 1 travel app. It has been utilized by federal and local governments to assess the situation in terms of gasoline.