Thursday, January 24, 2008


Being the good Los Angeles citizen that I am, I'm quickly abandoning any semblance of using modes of transportation other than my car. The bike rides have become less and less as the weeks go by. There's always some lame excuse: It's raining. It's too cold. I have clients in today and I don't wanna be all stinky. I don't wanna crash and destroy my laptop. Etc, etc. Seeing's how I've spent a good majority of my life as a licensed driver not owning a car, I figure I can drive a bit in this town.

So in order to combat the high cost of burning fossil fuels, I use this little widget called, appropriately: Gas. The Gas Widget tells me where I can get the cheapest gas within a specified radius. Except sometimes I go to the station that the Gas Widget points me to, and the gas isn't the same price as it said on the widget! Can't trust anybody. Or any little computerized thingy called widget.

But recently I noticed there's a button on the widget that says "Spot". I clicked on it and it told me how I could become a "spotter", which is basically how the widget gets the information about what the gas prices are. As the legion of spotters drives by whatever gas stations, they're gathering information and putting it onto a website where you can then see on a map what the prices are in a given area. That info is then related to the simple little Gas Widget.

Spotting is no easy task, especially in Los Angeles, where there are bazillions of gas stations on every street. At first I took spotting sorta lightly. I'd drive past a 76 station, look at the sign, and speak aloud the cents part of the cost. i.e. "29 39 49", which means "$3.29, $3.39, $3.49". But the saying it aloud thing didn't work too well with remembering, especially after passing about 3 gas stations. So I started writing them down on a piece of paper. While driving. Hell, half the people I see on the road are either holding a cell phone or texting, so scribbling some numbers on a piece of paper can't be all bad now can it? For the greater good of all gas consumers?

If that's not enough, The GasPriceWatch website even awards points for every updated price you enter into the system. And they keep a running tally of which users have the most points every month, and the high score overall. Needless to say, I want the high score. So I'll waste a bunch of gas driving around LA to find gas prices so I can win!