OPINION

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: If you value your privacy, don’t use GasBuddy

Mar 11, 2022, 4:00 PM

While Utah's gas prices remain higher at the pump than the national average, at $3.97 a gallon, tak...

Gas pump is pictured, gas prices fall just in time for Fourth of July travels. (Mengshin Lin/Deseret News)

(Mengshin Lin/Deseret News)

Editor’s note: This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

SALT LAKE CITY —The cheapest gas price I remember was 29 cents at the Sinclair station round the corner from my house growing up.

Roughly the same time men first walked on the moon, my dad would pull up to the pump.

They’d check the oil, squeegee the windshield, he’d fill up for $6, and they’d say  “thank you for coming in.”

In 2022, they give you dirty frozen water to clean your own windows. A tank of gas is like a pot of gold. and you drive off saying “thanks for nothing.”

But at least we have ways to save: Rewards cards help. And we have GasBuddy. It’s a handy little phone app that shows you where to find the cheapest gas.

Do not download GasBuddy onto your phone!

The New York Times WireCutter – a respected consumer site- reports that GasBuddy is a privacy nightmare. They warn Gas Buddy will slurp up all kinds of data about you – including your location if you allow it.

Wirecutter says your data is NOT anonymous. They know it’s you sneaking off to Taco Bell or the gun shop or to surprise your wife with flowers.

What’s your personal life worth to Gas Buddy?

They sell you out to online data brokers for slightly less than a penny. If you turn on the “drive” feature that pinpoints the cheapest gas, your driving data will be peddled to insurance companies.

And yes: They get your name, your email, and your phone number.

You can noodle around in your phone settings to shut down some of these features. But there are other places. Geico has a browser-based gas finder that’s up to date – and you don’t have to sell your soul to save 7 cents.

Other Minutes of News:

Listen to Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News every weekday from 3 to 7 p.m. for more of his “My Minute of News.” And check out the podcast below.

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Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: If you value your privacy, don’t use GasBuddy