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TUAW First Look: Gas Cubby 2.0


With more than 25,000 apps in the App Store (as of this writing), it's not easy to find the standouts. One such app is Gas Cubby from App Cubby (we're written about it before), and I'm very happy to have spent a week with version 2.0. It's in my top five iPhone applications (along with its sibling, Trip Cubby. But that's another post entirely).

My day job requires me to keep track of automotive expenses. Before I found Gas Cubby, I was unsuccessfully trying to do so with pen and paper. I'd either take the pen out of the car and forget to return it or do the same with the notebook. I'd end up scribbling on anything I could find and promptly lose whatever it was. My accountant wasn't happy.

Gas Cubby solved the issue and actually made it fun for me to keep track of my expenses. That's right, fun. You can collect data on gas and service. First, I'll look at gas.

Update: Yes, this will be a free upgrade for current owners.

Gallery: Gas Cubby 2.0 | 7 Photos

To get started, enter information on your vehicle (you can enter more than one). Organization nerds like me will enjoy this, as you get to record your VIN, license plate ID, Insurance company, make and model, tire size and optimal pressure, service reminders (more on this later) and notes. I know some of you are smiling already.

When you arrive at the gas station, click the gas icon to enter a new fueling. Choose your vehicle and enter info like odometer, full or partial fill up, octane (custom octane ratings are available in 2.0), cost and gallons purchased. You can even chose the gas brand, the location of the station, payment type and tire pressure. When you've finished, click "Done." Here's where it gets good.

Turn the iPhone/iPod touch on its side and view a series of graphs representing the data you've entered. In version 2.0, there are five graphs in total. The first displays miles per gallon over time. You can set the X axis to display 1 week's worth of data, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year or everything. Plus, there's a line that shows your average. Awesome.

With the iPhone still on its side, swipe to move from graph to graph. New in version 2.0 is the "Gas Stats Chart," which shows totals for 16 variables, like total costs, maximum and minimum MPG, miles per day and cost per mile.

The Price Per Gallon graph is my favorite, as you can track the overall cost of gas purchased (by octane) as well as the average. It's fun to see prices rise and fall, and if you go back and see where each purchase was made, it's easy to discover where the cheap gas is being sold.

Entering a service record is just as easy. Select the vehicle, type of service being done, location and so on. You can even schedule custom service reminders (a small icon reminds you when service is overdue).

But how do you get the data off of your iPhone? There are two options. First, you can email a CSV document to yourself from within the application, and new to 2.0 is online sync (a free App Cubby account is required). At tax time, when I could mail myself a full report and open it in Excel, I was very happy indeed. Other changes in version 2.0 include swipe navigation of detail views and custom setting for calculator style number pad.

I really love this application. It works beautifully, is easy to read, data entry is surprisingly quick and those charts make everything so darn useful. Even if you aren't recording data for business purposes, I'll recommend Gas Cubby. It's a useful, easy and yes, a fun way to keep track of your automotive spending.

The developers note that version 2.0 is currently in App Store Review Limbo, but they expect it to appear any time. Also, while version 1.x sold for $4.99US, the price of version 2.0 will be $9.99US. Worth it? Yes.

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