Despite the chancellor’s finest efforts, petrol prices are higher than Charlie Sheen ever was, and people will look for any way possible to save a few pence per litre. Thankfully, some generous Windows Phone 7 developers came up with this: Petrol Price Finder UK App.
The name is outrageously self-explanator, rendering any description of the app entirely unnecessary, so let’s cut to the chase. Exactly how useful is it?
I think the answer to that question would most probably be ‘quite’. As the app delivers on the promises made in the name: it finds you petrol prices, but it is lacking in some key functionality right now, that could make this an extremely handy tool.
The app uses an adaptation of Bing Maps, or it at least looks that way, to give a representation of the entire UK, and uses pins, similar to those used on Google Maps, to indicate the location of many petrol stations around the country. This is great, here you can search for a place and get directions to the petrol station using Windows Phone 7‘s built in Maps and Navigation.
Once you tap on a pin, you’re immediately given a few details on the petrol station, on a series of teal WP7-style tiles. The first is a large space at the top reserved for displaying the full address of the petrol station, and below that we have a button to take you back to the map, and down the left-hand side the latest prices for Unleaded 95/99 and Diesel, LPG and whatever it is that your petrol station provides, as well as the date of the latest update, which stays reasonably recent, though it’s not exactly live, which would make this a whole lot more awesome. Having said that, the prices listed for my local station were spot on on both occasions I’ve tested it.
Unfortunately, that’s pretty much it. I’m somewhat disappointed I can’t sit here and write that you can filter petrol stations, search for ones beyond a location, such as setting a maximum price or a particular company. How much extra petrol will our car use getting to that further station for cheaper petrol? I feel let down that I can’t tell you that this app has information about what else to find at the petrol station, does it have a small shop? Or Is it attached to a large supermarket? How many pumps are there? What are the busiest times of day?
All questions that will be asked by users and the answers would have been great, and useful, information to include, and all in all would have contributed to a much more comprehensive application. Most importantly, though, who wants to go thumbing through a dozen pins all individually, whilst writing down the lowest prices in case you can’t quite remember where they were or what they were. It could also be useful to be able to only display the fuel-types that you’re actually looking for.
Having said that, the Petrol Price Finder UK App for Windows Phone 7 is a useful tool to have handy. Particularly as the prices are now just getting silly, and a few pence per litre here or there can ultimately make a big difference over the course of a few months, especially if you’re a commuter or you just generally enjoy driving. The app will definitely enjoy some success on the Marketplace, if only because of the current petrol prices causing a stir, and hopefully this will drive it to add in all the extra functionality that will make it not only a great app, but an essential one for drivers.