Gas Prices at the Pump Dashboard

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As the gas prices at the pump increase, I wanted to see just how much we are paying for gas here in California compared to the rest of the country. To do this, I utilized Xcelsius 2008 to build a dashboard not only to help make information easier to consume, but also to showcase a sample/viral dashboard for my blog.

The resulting dashoard exemplifies the benefits of using interactive data visualization compared to static HTML tables/reports. At a glance, I can quickly assess what I am paying at the pump in relation to the national average and state averages.

Just showing the data wasn’t good enough…I wanted to provide additional analysis to transform the $/gallon data into something meaningful. A simple calculator was added to illustrate what we will pay per month and year, given the current price.

Gas Prices DashboardView full size example

All data for this dashboard originates from AAA.com. I am not providing source files for this dashboard at this time, but if you have any questions about what I have done, please add them to the comments in this post. If you are interested in using this dashboard in your web site for non-profit, please contact me.

I have several people point out that the gauges are distracting, which is absolutely correct. I have reverted back to the original graph version that can be viewed here:
View Gas Price Dashboard v0.9

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18 Comments

  1. I was wondering, where did you find the XML live feed for the Gas Prices on AAA. I searched a lot, but couldn’t find one. Anyways, can we use Excel Web Queries in Xcelsius. I used to create Live Dashboards in Excel using Web Queries before Xcelsius was launched, i was wondering if we can use the same in Xcelsius?

  2. Ryan,

    it would be great to learn step by step what you did to handle that RSS feed. Could you teach us this technique in one of your postings?

    Thank you,
    Leonid

  3. Hello Ryan,

    i was looking through your website and i think i found a glith, it is on the chart for gas prices in the USA.
    Wyoming had a bit of trouble wroking.

    Thank you,
    Yours Truly,

    Katie

  4. x x
    x x x
    x x x
    x x x x
    x x x x
    Last Year Last Month Yesterday Today

    I really like this dashboard, it very easy to understand and use; and it’s great timing. I did have one idea regarding the dial gauges, I think it would be a lot easier to see and compare if the information was in a bar graph like above (or a horizontal one). That way, the price progression and comparison would stand out.
    Just a thought because I’ll be showing this to everyone I know.
    Thanks,
    Aron

  5. Ryan,
    This is great and very timely! Thanks for sharing.

    Couple of thoughts:
    IMO The dial should read “Future Price Change” and be centered at 0 – “Future Price Increase” shows a bias (although probably accurate).
    Adding a variance to the impact analysis would be cool.
    Does AAA.com expose a web services for the data or are you scraping it of the site and preprocessing it?

    Thanks again,
    Matt

  6. Great dashboard, but I’d recommend you increase the allowed gas tank size. I drive a standard diesel pickup trunk with a fuel capacity of 35 gallons, and some pickup trunks are even larger. A good maximum might be 100 gallons, for those driving a dually with two fuel tanks.

  7. I have made some changes to fix a few minor issues. The data could be one day old since I am not sure how often or when AAA refreshes their data. My process collects the data daily at 4pm PST.

    AAA does not offer this data, so I am actually scraping it from their site using a custom process that I created but can not share unfortunately.

  8. I wish I can have the source. It is sure for my private only. The point is I just want to learn it because I’m a beginner in XCelsius. Btw, your dashboard is very excellent.

  9. The only things that I thought would be cool is if you added the capability to add your own gas price in, so that way I could calculate by my current gas stations price, and also to change the cost per month, so if I had a budget of $500.00 even it would calculate how many times I would be able to fill up.

    Anyway great post

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