Imagine having a travel partner who always knows where to find the lowest gas prices, always knows where you parked, can feed you detailed data on your operational costs and can even warn you of speed traps. Believe it or not, such a partner exists— it’s your smartphone. Download these apps before heading out on the road:
Nobody likes overpaying for gas, but sometimes you just need to get to a pump pronto. Gas Buddy can help. This app for iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices displays gas stations in your vicinity along with the gas prices offered by each station. The Gas Buddy app serves as the mobile version of the full-featured Gas Buddy website. A community of contributing users provides the information, which may mean you’ll get more accurate price data in bustling urban areas than you will in less-traveled rural locations.
FuelLog does more than simply monitor fuel consumption. This Android app does that, certainly, but it also gives you tons of information on your particular model’s fuel economy, maintenance and other operational costs, fuel volumes used and more. It presents this information in a clear, logical graphic interface. It even works for electric cars by displaying electricity usage per hour, and it can also track costs for multiple vehicles.
The free Car Locator app for Android devices can help you figure out whether you’ve simply forgot where you parked, or you’ve fallen prey to auto theft (which occurs every 44 seconds in this country, according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association). It gives you the option of a radar-like proximity visualization or a wallpaper displaying the distance to your vehicle, complete with a helpful arrow to point the way. Bear in mind, though, that you have to save your location to the app before leaving your car. You can also send the location data to someone else’s phone or email.
If you frequently drive along unfamiliar stretches of road, you can easily get slapped with a speeding ticket in the most unlikely places. Trapster, a free app available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices, levels the playing field by alerting you when you are near a known enforcement camera, road hazard or speed trap. CNN describes it as a “cell phone social network” powered by crowdsourced reports from thousands of users who want to warn their fellow motorists when they need to slow down.
State Farm Pocket Agent
If you have auto insurance with State Farm, check out the State Farm Pocket Agent iPhone app. This software allows you to access your policy instantly, search for a State Farm agent near you, take accident witnesses’ contact information, create graphic reconstructions of an accident scene and other valuable tricks for dealing with a collision or other mishap. To learn more, visit the State Farm website.
Everyone wants to drive more efficiently. This app lets you know how much your driving habits are costing you and the environment. The greenMeter app gives real-time readouts from your style of driving, so you can see what you need to change to optimize your fuel economy. It will break down your energy usage and display your cost in dollars, oil consumption and CO2 output.
Speaking of fuel economy, keep track of what you are spending on gas with AccuFuel. You can use this app to record fuel consumption and cost on multiple vehicles. It will compile the data in a graph and give you instant feedback. This app also includes a resettable odometer.
Speedometer Speed Box
Ever wonder just how accurate your speedometer is? The Speedometer Speed Box for iPhone and iPod works as a compass, average-speed calculator and an altimeter. It gives a digital read out of your speed and average it out. You can compare with the accuracy of your car’s speedometer. This app will give you up to three hours of data and comes with customizable display options.
Everyone knows Google Maps, but Waze takes it a step further. This app gives you GPS directions enhanced by user-generated information such as speed traps, traffic, hazards and re-routing advice. It’s a navigational tool with community-based information. Thousands of drivers work together to make everyone’s commute a little easier.
Last but not least, you need a reliable music source when you’re on the road. With a premium subscription, the Spotify app provides users with playlists and music suggestions based on their preferences. You can download your customized playlists to listen to in the car without worrying about cell coverage or waiting for a list to load. You can also follow friends and other users with similar music tastes and listen to their playlists.