The GasBuddy mobile app, which typically helps consumers find the cheapest gas nearby, has become the No. 1 app on the U.S. App Store for the first time due to the fuel shortages in the U.S. that followed the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline. Americans, fearful that gas would become unavailable, began panic-buying in ways that haven’t been seen since the significant toilet paper outage of 2020. As a result, thousands of gas stations ran out of fuel entirely. This dramatic situation has dramatically benefitted the GasBuddy app, which includes a crowdsourced feature that helps users locate which local stations still have gas for sale.
As of Wednesday afternoon, GasBuddy says the effects of the Colonial Pipeline shutdown are being felt across 11 U.S. states, mainly in the Southeast and Washington, D.C. North Carolina had the highest number of gas stations with fuel outages, with 65% of stations reportedly out of gas as of 2:48 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Kentucky has the lowest at only 2%. Because this data is self-reported by GasBuddy users, we should note it may not represent the most current information.
During the week, consumers have been turning to GasBuddy to help them find where they can fill up. Yesterday, the app hit No. 1 in the “Travel” category on the App Store, while it steadily climbed its way up the App Store’s Top Overall charts.
This afternoon, GasBuddy became both the No.1 app in the non-games category and the highest-ranked app Overall across the U.S. App Store.
According to data from app store intelligence firm Apptopia, GasBuddy yesterday saw 15,203 new downloads — a 59% increase from its average daily downloads, 9,560 for the past 30 days. However, third-party data isn’t always accurate for sudden shots in rank — it catches up a few days after the fact.
Reached for comment, GasBuddy says its downloads were far higher than the third-party estimates. Across all platforms, including iOS and Google Play, it saw 20x more downloads yesterday than an average day in 2021. The company told TechCrunch it counted 313,001 total downloads yesterday, compared with average daily downloads for the previous 30 days of 15,339.
Broken down by platform, GasBuddy says it saw 104,735 downloads on Android and 208,266 downloads on iOS on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. Apptopia also noted that GasBuddy hadn’t been the No. 1 app on the App Store in all the time it’s been recording app store rankings, which goes back to January 1, 2015. However, it noted the app itself launched back in 2010, making it possible (though not likely) that the app had reached No. 1 at some point.
GasBuddy confirmed that’s not the case. Today is the first time it had ever topped the App Store, though it got close once before when it reached No. 2 behind a walkie-talkie app during Hurricane Irma in September 2017.