BOSTON -- As hurricane season 2018 approaches its peak, GasBuddy has introduced two improvements to its crowdsourced fuel price app to help motorists better locate fuel during an emergency.
Fuel outages plagued several markets during last year’s active hurricane season. Just before Hurricane Irma’s landfall in the Florida Keys in September 2017, for example, 43% of Florida gas stations were out of fuel, according to GasBuddy. And three days after the storm passed, almost half of fueling sites in major cities were out of fuel or electricity.
During hurricanes Harvey and Irma, GasBuddy introduced a fuel outage tracker feature to its crowdsourced app in which consumers could report and track which sites were out of fuel or power.
GasBuddy has since added two features to its app to enhance its accuracy and information accessibility. First, each gas station status report submitted by a GasBuddy user will now include a time stamp, and users can review a specific gas station’s outage reports in chronological order. That list will include time stamps, which GasBuddy user reported the data, and whether the site had gasoline, diesel or power.
“Timing is everything with crowdsourced data. Some users encountered cases of outdated station status reports, causing them to drive to stations that had already run out of gas,” said Michael DiLorenzo, chief marketing officer for Boston-based GasBuddy. “The station status history feature shows users the time of the last station update, allowing them to make time-saving, accurate decisions on where to find gas stations with fuel and power.”
Second, users of the GasBuddy app will be able to share fuel and power updates. Each gas station’s page in the GasBuddy app will feature a “share station status” option, so users can text, e-mail or post the fuel and power status information on social media.
GasBuddy will activate the fuel outage tracker and these app enhancements during a hurricane or similar emergency event.