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How the Net is changing our lives: no.24

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We revel in innovative uses of the Internet at The Reg, and here is another great example.

One the eve of the proposed boycott of petrol stations in order to highlight the huge tax that the UK pays on each litre of petrol, Web site www.petrolbusters.com has brought home the empowering use of the Internet.

It's not the greatest looking site, but that is clearly overshadowed by its practicality. The site contains the current price per litre of the lion's share of petrol stations in the UK (13,000 out of an estimated 13,500). A search function allows you to input your postcode and a search radius of between one mile and fifteen miles. The site will then display the cheapest stations in the selected area, with a map to help you find it.

Interesting stats include the most expensive and cheapest stations, the UK average price, your area's average price and how much you could save per tank/month if you travel to the cheapest station.

Currently, Petrol Busters has teamed up with the Boycott the Pumps campaign to give a free three-search facility (you need to go to the campaign site to get a daily password), to highlight the situation (and of course get loads of free publicity, just like this story).

Pressure is building on the government what with the press coming out in support, the Tories leaping on it like a lame opposition possessed and supermarkets doing the PR stuff and cutting prices by a little bit so they look like they care.

We had a chat with site owner James Black. His plan after this initial crazed hype is over is to get people to register with the site. The current arrangement is to charge £5 per annum for three people. He told us that the daily-updated prices come from the company that runs the fuel card loyalty system, PHH. Another company, Catalyst, picks up this info and feeds it to Petrol Busters.

Does Petrol Busters pay for the info? "You bet we do, loads!"

And so is born another company solely through the Net's unique advantages. With boo.com and clickmango.com now down the toilet, it looks as though people are finally getting the hang of this Internet stuff. ®

Related links

Petrol Busters
Boycott the Pumps campaign

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Middle England protests over petrol rip-off

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