AUTO

Drivers Race to Websites for Cheap Gas

Gasbuddy.com

 (Gasbuddy.com)

US websites that tell drivers where to buy the cheapest gas in their area are experiencing a rush of business amid fears that escalating violence in Libya will cause long-term oil disruptions.

GasBuddy, which runs about 250 local websites that post gas prices all over the US and Canada, has seen an eightfold increase in traffic to the site in the last two weeks as the unrest in Libya pushes up oil prices.

The website -- which reports the gas prices that active users see at their neighborhood station -- has not hosted as many visitors since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, said Patrick DeHaan, a petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.

"There is a flood of interest out there," he said. "Web traffic is through the roof."

The website hit two million unique visitors Monday, while its free smartphone app has been downloaded at rate of around 10,000 times an hour over the past two weeks.

Motorists using the facility in New York City could have saved $4 on a 10-gallon purchase -- as the site showed a Big Apple high of $3.99 a gallon and a low of $3.59 a gallon.

MapQuest, owned by AOL, and Murphy Oil USA also point drivers to cheaper gas.