Culture: Website: Price Guide
Petrol Price WAP Service   (+3)  [vote for, against]
If this idea hasn't been baked, WHY NOT?

How about a WAP service where service stations post their petrol/gas prices and update them instantly. WAP users can dial into the service which finds their location, and then the location and the price of the petrol in the area from cheapest to most expensive.

Service station managers would use the service for the publicity, and end-users would use it to find the cheapest price and best location for petrol.

Additional to this, the data could be collated and graphs of petrol prices from day to day drawn so users can predict when to fill up and save more money. Everybody wins in a free market sort of a way.
-- sdm, Aug 12 2001

Australia-wide petrol price watch site. Seems to be privately maintained. [mrkillboy, Aug 12 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Fuelwatch Western Australia
The West Australian Government petrol price watch site. Does not seem to be affiliated with the above site, despite the using the same name. [mrkillboy, Aug 12 2001, last modified Oct 04 2004]

Petrol Prices
Updates by e-mail [angel, Jul 28 2010]

Relatively recent legislation in Western Australia has meant that fuel prices must be unchanging during the day, and that tomorrow's prices must be reported the previous day and subsequently posted on a website (see link).

So it's not quite baked, but could easily be done if they bothered to make a WAP compatible version.
-- mrkillboy, Aug 13 2001, last modified Aug 15 2001

In my town, most of the stations operate a 'cheapest-in-the-area' policy, so they all sell at the same price (except for the all-nighters). When one raises its price, the others do the same (not that it's a cartel, coz that's illegal).
-- angel, Aug 14 2001

Yes, I think that the UK "price watch" practise is very dodgey too. Furthermore it invalidates the WAP idea as the best it could do is find the best price on a specific journey due to the slim chance that you might pass through an area where petrol is being sold at a slightly lower price.
-- Aristotle, Aug 14 2001

It's worth bearing in mind that there's often so little differential that it's not worth trailing around looking for 'cheap' petrol; by the time you've driven there, you've used more than you've saved. I fill up at the local supermarket because I'm going there anyway.
-- angel, Aug 14 2001

I live in the UK and see upto a 4p difference in town and another 4p on top for motorway service stations.

Anything to make petrol cheaper would be good.

incidently, american won't understand the concept of expensive petrol... it's _nearly_ free in America.

Sadly this idea would never work as the petrol stations would never agree to it.... it would force them all to sell at the same low price... anyone changing would force them all down and thats the last thing they want.
-- CasaLoco, Aug 14 2001

the petrol's not that expensive
85% of it is tax
-- edski, Aug 14 2001

Sorry. It's the Australian experience I was relating to when coming up with this halfbaked idea. In Australia the petrol prices from place-to-place differ shamelessly. This is because, being such a sparsely populated country without a really good public transport infrastructure, we *need* fuel for private travel and petrol companies know we have no other option.

You can see the free market working magically: in my area, as peoples tanks run dry around Wednesday night, petrol prices rise by about 10c / litre (imagine 20 US cents / litre!)

Also, to give the example of my friend who works about 18km east of where I live, the average houshold income is marginally higher than my area, as aresult petrol prices are simply higher because of price inelasticity of demand [insert neo-Classical economic garbage here]...

While we try to plan our refuelling to save as much money as possible, a WAP service would put market information at our fingertips when we're on the road. But yes, CasaLoco, you make a salient point: the whole idea would depend on a petrol companies' allowing their branch operators to post prices.
-- sdm, Aug 15 2001

I'd like to triangulate a relief map of gas prices. Maybe have optoins like removing non-24/7 stations.
-- LoriZ, Sep 24 2001

or how about a petrol price telegram service?
-- kinemojo, Jul 26 2010

Would you accept e-mail instead of telegrams? (linky)
-- angel, Jul 28 2010

Does WAP still exist? I've long had a dream that it might work on a ZX Spectrum.
-- nineteenthly, Jul 28 2010

random, halfbakery