British Columbia

B.C. man develops app to help counter high gas prices

Gilson Tsang's Worth the Drive helps people calculate whether it's worth driving to the U.S. for fuel.

Gilson Tsang's Worth the Drive helps people calculate whether it's worth driving to the U.S. for fuel

With gas prices hovering around $1.60/litre, many consumers are trying to find ways to get fuel for less. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

A Coquitlam man has developed a calculator to help drivers determine if it's worth driving to the U.S. to buy gas instead of buying in B.C.

Gilson Tsang made the app available for Android smartphones on the Google Play app store on April 25. It's called Worth the Drive.

He says he made the program because he was tired of paying for what he calls "overpriced" Vancouver gas.

"This is such a big deal right now," he said about people trying to find a deal on gas prices.

To find out if it's worth making the effort to cross the border for gas, users input the length and distance of their drive to the U.S. destination, their vehicle's fuel efficiency, the price of gas in both countries, the amount of fuel to be bought and the exchange rate.

A screen grab from Gilson Tsang's Worth the Drive gas app, which compares variables such as driving distance, fuel economy and the exchange rate. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

He says the app has shown that it's worth the savings to drive from Whistler to the U.S. to buy gas.

Every two and half weeks Tsang drives south from Coquitlam with two extra fuel canisters and buys 110 litres of fuel.

With the app he says he saves about $50 every time he crosses the border to buy gas.

Gilson Tsang developed his app Worth the Drive to help people calculate if it's cheaper to drive to buy gas in the U.S. or stay in B.C. (Doug Kerr/CBC)

He said some people think they are burning too much fuel to drive across the border to fill up. But Tsang said the app consistently shows that even though it may cost between $5 and $10 to get over the border and back, it's worth it for a $50 savings in filling up.

"You're gaining $40 profit," he said.

Tsang said he wants to support local businesses in B.C. but the price difference between fuel in Canada and the U.S. is too big to ignore.

He is also calling on the the province to do more to help drivers with high gas prices in B.C.

With files from Joel Ballard.

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