The Margin: GasBuddy jumps to No.1 on Apple, overtakes crypto-focused Coinbase App, as gasoline prices hit $3 for first time in 6 1/2 years


An earlier version of this article incorrectly referenced the owner of GasBuddy. Professional Datasolutions, Inc., bought the mobile App used by drivers to find and share real-time fuel prices in late April.  

Interest in gasoline prices appeared to be overtaking appetite for crypto trading prices, at least on Apple’s App store on Wednesday.

The app for GasBuddy, which bargain-hunters typically use to find gas stations with the cheapest prices, was overtaking buzzy crypto-exchange Coinbase Global

as the most downloaded app on Apple’s

platform in the U.S.


The surge in interest about gasoline comes as prices topped $3 a gallon on Wednesday for the first time in about six-and-a-half years, according to GasBuddy.

GasBuddy was founded in 2000 as a website to track fuel prices. It had been owned by United Communications Group, a Maryland-based private holding company, but was sold to Professional Datasolutions, Inc. in late April.

The run-up in prices at the pump come amid the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline, which supplies 45% of the fuel consumed on the U.S. East Coast, late last week.

Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, told MarketWatch’s Myra P. Saefong that the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline “accelerated” gas demand, which has ratcheted higher as many states reopen from lockdown protocols in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rollout of vaccines and remedies to fight the deadly disease, which has claimed millions of lives, has led to a rebound in social activity and driving that is considered just in its early stages.

Gas stations across the southeastern U.S. have run out of fuel in the aftermath of the pipeline shutdown. As of 10 a.m. Eastern Wednesday, 28.2% of stations in North Carolina were out of gasoline, as were more than 17% of stations in Georgia and Florida, de Haan said on Twitter:

Over the past four weeks, motor gasoline product supplied, which is a proxy for demand, was up over 41% from the same time a year ago to average 8.9 million barrels a day, the Energy Information Administration said in a weekly report released Wednesday.

Gasoline futures 

 have climbed nearly 54% year to date at $2.16 a gallon on Wednesday.

It’s not atypical for GasBuddy’s app to jump on Apple’s app store, the application jumped to the top of list during fuel shortages, including one in Florida back in 2017, in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

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