Apr 28, 2008

Keeping Gas Prices Accurate on MapQuest

The popularity of finding cheap gas on MapQuest Gas Prices continues to grow with the never-ending price increases at the pump. About the only thing you like going up on gas prices is our accuracy! MapQuest updates thousands of gas prices every few hours. Due to the high volume of data flowing in from gas stations across the country, we occasionally have a handful of pricing irregularities slip through our data provider’s filter. However, we work very closely with our data providers to try to ensure that MapQuest visitors get current and accurate data. In fact, we update our data seven times a day. Not every station updates their price that frequently so we expire gas prices after 48 hours so that consumers have current information when shopping around for fuel.

We saw in the news the other day that a station in Carlisle, Pennsylvania had a price that was 60 cents lower than normal. Instead of the normal $3.559, the price was reported as $2.959. I’m sure more than a few MapQuest visitors saw that price and thought, “Wow! I am going to go fill up the tank.” Was there a sale? Was there a radio or television promotion going on? No, unfortunately a processing error occurred and an errant price slipped through the filter and was displayed on the web.

As some consumers found out after they visited or called the station, the price was not actually 60 cents cheaper. We investigated the pricing issue with our data provider and found out that two transactions that streamed in on April 23rd for this station were misreported. Fortunately, the price corrected itself when the system updated, but for those who saw the lower price it was too late.

So what’s next? Our data provider ensures us that they will be updating their filter in the next couple of weeks which will greatly reduce the risk of any erroneous prices being reported. We also need your help. If you see an incorrect gas price on our page, visit our help page and send us a note. Also if there’s something on the site that you like or dislike, let us know. We appreciate all the feedback MapQuest Gas Price visitors have given us so far.