GasBuddy, a smartphone app that has been downloaded 56 million times in North America, today officially launched in Australia — the first time the app has been made available outside the US and Canada.
The app, available on Android and iOS, lets motorists report fuel prices to each other in real-time with the help of location information and a software algorithm designed to ensure information fed into the system is accurate.
Motorists in the US and Canada generate around 15 million fuel price reports per month using the app and the company is hoping to repeat its success in Australia.
GasBuddy needs to scale quickly in order to be effective and the company’s Australian manager Nic Moulis said that trials in the Sydney market — involving fewer than a thousand testers — had been successful. GasBuddy was aiming to have the app in the hands of around 500,000 Australian motorists within a year, he said.
“In our view, the first few weeks of download will be strong and the consumer will directly engage directly with this product and our product will start to get smarter and smarter,” Mr Moulis said.
However, Mr Moulis conceded that the company would be relying on an unnamed third-party data supplier to support the app through its initial phase.
It also has a deal in place with taxi industry disrupter Uber to place the app in 50,000 of its vehicles and it plans to spend $36,000 on fuel giveaways to entice motorists to use it.
Unlike many technology companies GasBuddy started a long way from Silicon Valley and its headquarters is located in Canada’s Saskatchewan capital, Regina.
GasBuddy started in 2000 as a community fuel price sharing website created by two Canadian university students, Dustin Coupal and Jason Toews.
In 2008 the GasBuddy website was converted into an app and subscriptions skyrocketed. In 2013, petroleum information pricing firm Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) — a subsidiary of business information specialist firm Universal Communications Group (UCG) — acquired GasBuddy in a private deal.