Getting Around The Seattle Area Costs A Pretty Penny: Ways To Deal With Rising Gas Prices

The rise in gas prices the last month has been mind boggling. Every day has brought a new increase to the per gallon price. As of 2/27/12, the Seattle area saw a $.40 increase per gallon in just 30 days.

One of the ways our family has coped with these daily increases is to use a phone app to find the best price per gallon in our vicinity. Our favorite app is from Gas Buddy. My husband downloaded it a few months ago, prior to a trip we took to California. We were traveling in an area we hadn’t visited for years; by using Gas Buddy we were able to decide well in advance what exit we wanted to use to get gas, and what the best prices were by station.

We now use this app on a daily basis, after it was so helpful on our trip. We watch prices around both our home and workplaces.  Through the use of this phone app, we are planning more strategic refilling our gas tanks rather than just waiting for the needle to hit E.

Gas Buddy gives users a choice of showing nearby stations as a list or map. Users can further sort by grade of gas, price or distance to your location.  Tap on a station and a dedicated page for that station is pulled up, and includes a map button for mapping just that station.  The Gas Buddy app is available to download on iPhone, Android, Blackberry or Windows Phone 7, the most broad availability of all the gas price apps according to Mashable.

Facing steep gas prices encouraged me to also evaluate my daily struggle with Seattle area traffic. I decided that commuting by bus would be a good option to explore. With the help of the University of Washington’s OneBusAway, I am embracing bus commuting. With this powerful app downloaded to my phone, I have navigated around the greater Puget Sound with more confidence than I ever had with carrying a print out of the bus schedule for the route I was hoping to utilize. I can save my favorite stops, look up bus routes and see if my buses are running on time. If I miss my desired bus, I can see when the next one will be by or look up the time schedule for an alternate route. One caveat, however– if your phone gets no signal in the bus tunnel, OneBusAway won’t work on your phone while you are down there. OneBusAway is available as an app for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7; it’s also a website and optimized for mobile web browsers. Users can also call or receive text messages regarding real-time arrival information.

If you drive an electric car to beat the gas price heat, don’t forget that back in January charging stations were set up on Mercer Island. In fact, the other day I spotted a charging station right in front of Walgreens! Have you noticed any other stations around the island, beyond the 3 set up at MICEC, the Boys & Girls Club and City Hall in January? If you have, please share in the comment section below.