Yahoo! has launched a new service that could help users save some money. They have started providing a shortcut, via Yahoo! search, that will allow users to know the prices of gas at various petrol pumps in the vicinity.
Since the prices invariably vary from service station to station even in the same city – for instance, in the city of Chicago, the rates of petrol range from $3.54 to $4.33 per gallon – users can save by searching for nearby petrol pumps on Yahoo! and identifying the place with the cheapest prices.
Users searching for petrol prices or service stations in a specific city or zip code will find a list of prices and addresses of 5 nearby providers alongside a map showing their exact locations.
Even if the city name or zip code is not entered, Yahoo! will try to provide details about petrol pumps nearest to the user, based on the IP address.
Prices seem to be obtained through some sort of collaboration with oil price comparison site, gasbuddy.com, though Yahoo! has not clarified whether any relationship exists at present. The service works only in the US and Canada.
Yahoo!’s main competitor, Google, also provides a list of local gas stations in map searches, but so far they have not added any feature that compares prices.
People may of course argue that it does not make sense to travel too far to save a few pennies per gallon of petrol, as you will end up using more petrol to reach there, thus wasting more money, or at least negating the effects of the money saved. However, it is the availability of information, which gives one the power of choice, that is important here. Also, if drivers are aware of the stations that are cheaper, they can always plan in advance and fill up at that station when passing by.
With the current financial scenario, the prices of oil have fallen in the last few weeks, but it still does not hurt to be able to save a few pennies. In fact, the stock market and banking sector crash are all the more reason for people to save money as and when they can, and Yahoo! might win some favour in this respect.