5 Car Apps That Can Help You Save Money

From finding the cheapest gas to avoiding speed traps, there's an app that can keep more money in your wallet.

Mar 23, 2014 at 1:00PM

Maintaining a car is expensive. Car insurance, maintenance, and repairs can eat into your budget, so knowing where to get the cheapest gas, when to have your car serviced, and where to park can help you save money in the long term. We've compiled a list of five apps that are designed to help drivers save money on car costs.

MetroMile is a company based out of the San Francisco Bay area that is testing a pay-by-the-mile insurance service, which the company claims saves people up to $400 per year. This pay-by-the-mile insurance is designed for people who drive no more than 10,000 miles each year. The company argues that insurance companies don't accurately measure how much people drive, and because of that, those who drive less wind up subsidizing the cost for those who drive much more.

MetroMile has successfully completed a pilot program of its insurance service in Oregon and has now expanded into Washington. It hopes to have the insurance service expand into more of the United States later this year.

In addition to its insurance service, MetroMile also offers a free app that monitors the vital stats of your car and reports them back to you in a way that consumers can understand. Using a company-developed device known as the "Metronome," a tiny device that plugs into a port underneath the car's dashboard and then syncs up with your account, MetroMile can monitor your car's gas usage, telling you that if you left for your commute at a different time, you may not spend as much time in traffic, translating to your spending less on gas for your travels.

GasBuddy is a free app designed to help you find the cheapest and most convenient gas station near you. With more than 32 million subscribers, GasBuddy operates by having users of the app report fuel prices in their areas, which are then made available to other users. Every gas price entry is time-stamped so that users of the app know how recently that gas price was reported. Any GasBuddy user can report an area's gas prices, and as an incentive for reporting those gas prices, users can earn points, which can then be used to enter drawings to win prizes such as free gas.

In addition to the app, GasBuddy's website also allows users to record their fuel purchases and miles on their odometers, giving them the ability to keep track of their fuel usage.

Routine maintenance can help you save money by preventing more costly car repairs. aCar is an app for drivers that provides users the ability to track their fuel mileage and their car's maintenance and expenses to see if their vehicle is operating at its most optimal performance level.

In addition to tracking mileage and the cost of filling up your gas tank, along with other general expenses associated with operating your vehicle, the free version of aCar provides the ability to track the usage of multiple vehicles for those who operate in at least a two-car household. aCar also provides fully customizable time- and mileage-based service reminders for your car, so you shouldn't be overdue for an oil change or be caught off-guard by your vehicle's pending inspection.

The Pro edition of aCar provides full-screen statistical charts and graphs that compare things like fuel efficiency, fuel costs, service costs, and other general expenses. It also gives the app's user the ability to export data to Microsoft Office and Excel, Dropbox, or Google Docs.

Tickets can be expensive, but Trapster helps you avoid getting them. Trapster is a free app with more than 20 million users around the globe that provides users with alerts to speed traps, red light cameras, and speed cameras, so you can plan alternative routes.

Trapster uses either Wi-Fi or GPS to find the location of its users and then sends them audio alerts that inform them of possible approaching ticket threats.

BestParking is a search engine that tells drivers where the cheapest and most convenient parking garages and lots in the city are located. With more than 700,000 users, BestParking is available in 100 cities and 115 airports in North America. BestParking allows users to see parking garages and lots near the search destination, available on a map and sortable list. BestParking reports each location's details such as capacity and whether they have valet parking.

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Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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