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    AAA Launches Fuel Price Finder

    New Web feature allows consumers to search for cheaper fuel.

    BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Automobile Association of America introduced a feature called Fuel Price Finder on its AAA.com Web site that allows users to locate the gas stations closest to where they are traveling and view a ranking based on prices, the New York-based Buffalo News reported.

    The AAA's new feature is based on data collected from more than 85,000 gas stations nationwide, said James Yoerg, manager of planning and public affairs of the New York-based AAA organization. Data generated from credit-card swipes at those stations also feeds into the electronic system.

    The AAA says its new search feature will be updated daily, though the time when the most recent price was recorded from gas stations might vary. And since prices fluctuate, the price shown online might be different by the time motorists arrive there to buy gas, the report stated.

    The AAA doesn't claim its search function is comprehensive, but Yoerg said it is based on financial data, unlike other gas price Web sites that depend on motorists and gas station owners who report prices.

    "We're more reliant on what is actually being purchased vs. what somebody is seeing or others are saying," he said.

    Another site, GasBuddy.com, consists of more than 170 gas information Web sites for specific markets.

    Jason Toews, a GasBuddy co-founder, said his site receives information from 400,000 spotters and tracks more than 150,000 gas stations nationwide. He also said that prices which are submitted are monitored and checked, to prevent incorrect data from being posted.

    GasBuddy can update its figures throughout the day, instead of only once a day like the AAA's search function, Toews said.

    Users of AAA's new feature type in a city and state, or a ZIP code, and can search anywhere from a three- to 10-mile radius. A map displays the gas stations, and then ranks them on a list by price.

    Yoerg said the feature will benefit travelers who are looking for places to fuel up on a trip, as well as local residents trying to save money on gas.

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