With the right tank apps, you can save up to 40 euros on your holiday or business trip. We took a closer look at three apps. […]
Refueling is currently one of the nightmares of German motorists at prices of well over two euros. And that’s why motorists should also be to blame for the fact that sunflower and rapeseed oil are now becoming scarce. The crude explanations on the Internet: Diesel drivers angry about the fuel prices would dump the vegetable oil into their tanks to save. The fact that modern diesel engines with their complex exhaust gas cleaning technology cannot run on vegetable oil at all – there is a risk of expensive engine damage – does not really bother the posters of these claims.
If you really want to save on refueling, you have only one legal option: consistently approach the cheapest gas station. However, with local price differences of usually a maximum of around 12 cents per liter, this is only worth it to a limited extent – for a 66-liter tank, this is 7.92 euros. If a detour has to be made for this, the potential savings are quickly exhausted.
A trip to possibly nearby neighboring countries seems to be more worthwhile – for example, in connection with a Sunday trip or a business trip. And even on the upcoming Easter holiday, you can save a lot of money with tactically correct refueling. For example, at the time of our research, the liter of diesel in Munich cost between 2.25 and 2.37 euros. In neighboring Austria, on the other hand, the fuel was available for 2.02 euros – a saving of 15.18 euros when refueling.
It will be even cheaper if the trip leads to Switzerland. The diesel was available there for 1.70 CHF (1.64 euros). Compared to Munich, this would mean a saving of over 40 euros per tank of fuel – even though Switzerland has so far been one of the most expensive diesel countries. Even in France, diesel was significantly cheaper at 1.92 euros than in Munich. So if you plan the trip to the Easter holiday in a technically smart way, you will quickly save the equivalent of a dinner for two.
But how can the fuel stops be tactically cleverly planned for the trip from home? Either the driver has a built-in navigation system that displays the current fuel prices, or he uses one of the numerous tank apps available for Android and iOS. The first option is usually reserved only for drivers of a premium model. For example, Mercedes had equipped the navigation system of its E-Class with a corresponding fuel price indicator. However, the Stuttgart-based company is gradually phasing out the cloud service – in other words, it simply cannot be extended after the free three–year period has expired.
Ultimately, the majority of fuel-price-plagued motorists only have to resort to one of the numerous refueling apps. For example, if you enter the search term “refueling Apps” in the Google Play Store, you will receive almost 250 hits. But which app is the right one for my needs? Similar to a requirement booklet for a software project, we have created a short list of specifications that contains our personal must-have requirements for a tank app. For us, these include the following points:
- automatic update of fuel prices
- Display of the opening hours of the petrol station, or search only for open petrol stations
- Display of the price development at the respective gas station
- Map display
- Can be used abroad
- In-car payment (by credit card, PayPal) via app when refueling (interesting especially in corona times)
- Transfer of the petrol station address in Google Maps for navigation
- Transfer of the petrol station address to the vehicle navigation system
- For company car drivers: Petrol station search for accepted fuel cards
With these requirements in the background, we took a closer look at three tank apps: The “Benzinpreis-Blitz” app from the German software company MW WebWork, the popular app with over 270,000 downloads “clever-tanken.de ” as well as the solution from the car manufacturer Mercedes “Bertha. Your petrol station app”“
Petrol Price Flash
If the fuel price should also be checked when traveling abroad, then the gasoline price flash is our clear favorite. In addition to Germany, the app displays prices in six other countries: Austria, Luxembourg, France, Portugal, Spain and Italy. Although the app shows which fuel cards a station supports, it is not possible to search for them. Also very detailed is the information about the additional services that a gas station offers.
The Petrol Price Flash app also displays fuel prices in six popular travel countries (c) Google Play Store
In terms of in-car payment, the petrol price Blitz works together with the cooperation partner rydpay. In Munich, the app found 30 acceptance points within a 25-kilometer radius. With a simple touch in the app, the navigation to the selected gas station can be started directly via Google Maps. Unfortunately, it is not possible to transfer the search result to the vehicle navigation system. For an annual fee of 1.49 Euros, the app can be switched ad-free.
Even if clever-tanken.de one of the most popular Android tank apps, we liked it the least in our comparison. A shortcoming is, for example, that it only shows the prices of German gas stations. A use abroad thus falls flat. We noticed positively that the app not only supports the search for the standard fuels, but also allows search criteria such as hydrogen, LNG, AdBlue, bioethanol, etc.
Clever-tanken.de although it provides the prices for many fuels – including hydrogen -, a granular fine adjustment of other search criteria is not possible (c) Screenshot Hill
On the other hand, it is not possible to search for other criteria, such as accepted fuel cards, etc. In addition, there is only a filter that can be used to set whether closed gas stations, old prices and gas stations without prices are also displayed. A granular fine adjustment is not possible. For in-car payment, the app supports the in-house “clever-pay”. Unfortunately, there were only two acceptance points in Munich within a 25-kilometer radius of our location. The found gas stations can be exported directly to Google Maps on the smartphone. The address could also be transmitted to the vehicle navigation system via the “Share” function. If the advertising in the app annoys you, you will receive an ad-free version for an annual fee of 1.99 euros.
As the only application of our test trio, the Bertha app does not require any in-app advertising. In addition to Germany, fuel prices are displayed in four other countries: Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium. In contrast to the other two apps, Bertha only displays the search results directly in the map, there is no list view. For this, Bertha is the only app of our trio to support the petrol station search for accepted fuel cards.
However, this positive impression is again nullified by the fact that only the search for three types of fuel (Super E5, Super E10 and diesel) is supported. For in-car payment, Mercedes relies on the in-house Bertha Pay, for which a Visa or Mastercard credit card is required. Bertha indicated 22 acceptance points for Munich. The transfer of the found gas station address was possible both in Google Maps and in the car navigation system.
With regard to our personal specifications, none of the three candidates was able to win a favorite position. If the petrol price flash would also show the prices for Switzerland and support the transmission of the results to the navigation system, that would be our winner. In the future, he will have to share the space on his smartphone with the Bertha app, although the latter is probably used more in Germany, while the petrol price flash is used when traveling abroad.
Speaking of foreign countries – it should be borne in mind here that the in-car payment of the apps usually only works in Germany. It should also be noted that due to the price explosion due to the war in Ukraine, there may be temporary restrictions on the apps at the moment, as the backend systems are sometimes not up to the flood of user requests.
*Jürgen Hill is Chief Reporter Future Technologies at COMPUTERWOCHE. The graduated journalist and computer scientist is currently dealing with current IT trend topics such as AI, quantum computing, digital twins, IoT, digitization, etc. In addition, he has a long-standing background in the field of communications with all its facets (TK, mobile, LAN, WAN).