"It's a pivotal time to use the GasBuddy app to distinguish stations that have and haven't raised prices," said Patrick DeHaan, petroleum analyst at GasBuddy. He said, for example, that GasBuddy users in Indianapolis, where prices went up 50 cents per gallon in one day last week, could have saved a great deal by finding cheaper stations.
"If average prices in your area haven't climbed more than 15 cents per gallon, you'll likely see further additional increases of at least 10 cents per gallon," DeHaan wrote in the GasBuddy blog.
DeHaan said there are currently 79 million users between those who have downloaded the app and used the Internet to report gas prices.
DeHaan said the majority of gas prices are reported voluntarily by users, but GasBuddy also has a program for gas stations to report their prices directly.
When asked about the dependability of volunteer-reported data, DeHaan said they check each price posting for reliability. He said their system checks pricing patterns, a station's past history and its neighborhood competition.
"If someone accidentally presses wrong button, data integrity will test that," said DeHaan. "Most of the time our system is very reliable. We do on occasion independently confirm data."
Matt Gutman, Erin Keohane and Zunaira Zaki contributed to this report.