GasBuddy is known for helping people find cheap gas, but now it’s helping people find whatever gas is available.
As people in Florida try to flee Hurricane Irma, demand for gas has skyrocketed, compounded by the shortage already caused when Hurricane Harvey previously hit refineries in Texas.
Levi Hamilton, vice-president and general manager of GasBuddy, said as many as 50 per cent of gas stations were out of service as evacuations were underway, either due to a lack of gasoline or power.
That’s why they’ve introduced a feature on the GasBuddy app that will allow people to report if a gas station is without fuel or power.
“We’ve been working with the governor of Florida, and the attorney general as well, and helping make sure that these exit routes – these strategies they’ve been using to evacuate these people – are as efficient as possible,” Hamilton explained to the CJME Morning Show.
— GasBuddy (@GasBuddy) September 5, 2017
“Small changes in Saskatchewan from an app that we’ve been working on are having a big impact down there.”
Hamilton added the feature will also allow people to report any price gauging, which he said is illegal on commodities in the U.S.
“If you only have one option, instead of paying $2 for gas you would have, or maybe slightly more because supply and demand, some of those stations are raising their prices by as much as $6.50 a gallon,” he said.
“We can pass that on to government officials down there and make sure that this price gouging in this emergency situation doesn’t happen.”
Hamilton said the data collected by the app will also help officials get people back into their communities once the storm is over.
— GasBuddy (@GasBuddy) September 11, 2017
An earlier version of this story said the vice-president and general manager of GasBuddy was Levi Mitchell, it has since been corrected to Levi Hamilton.