June 23, 2012, 7:38 AM — The Waze navigation app has used the wisdom of crowds to help you avoid traffic jams. With an update released on the App Store Wednesday, Waze is now looking to do the same thing when it’s time to find lower gas prices.
Waze 3.2 now includes real-time gas prices for stations in your vicinity and along your route. Just as Waze lets its 19 million-member community update traffic data, the app will also reflect user-supplied updates on gas prices. (Waze also gets daily price data on fuel from Oil Price Information Service.)
To find gas prices, you search for gas by tapping Navigate and then selecting the Categories button. Tapping on gas stations produces a list of results. From the report menu, you can also update gas prices if the actual pricing is different from what’s listed in the app.
Adding gas price data fits in perfectly with the mission of Waze, says Di-Ann Eisnor, the company’s vice president of platform and partnerships. The app launched with the goal of saving its users time by supplying them with the best routes to avoid traffic, construction, and other roadside delays. “We wanted to figure out a way to save you both time and money,” Eisnor said.
To that end, the updated Waze app doesn’t just provide gas price information. It also offers discounts to Waze users at participating gas stations. Via the app, Waze users can access a coupon for 5 to 10 cents off each gallon of gas at selected stations. They can redeem that coupon by taking their phone into the gas station—where the gas station owners likely hope that they’ll also pick up some sodas, candy bars, and other items for the road, in addition to the discounted gas.
Waze estimates that 3 percent of gas stations in the country will be offering discounts to users of its app in the next few weeks. In announcing the 3.2 update, Waze mentioned partnerships with the likes of Kum & Go, Hess, Mid-Atlantic Convenience Stores serving BP and Exxon stations, and Vintners Distributors, which serves Shell stations. The Waze app will indicate participating gas stations with a yellow banner in the search results or with a yellow dollar sign on gas station icons in the app’s map view.