This is the story of how this bottled gas website came about. In August 2014, Barbara and I undertook an exciting adventure.
Nine months earlier we’d bought a new Avan Ovation M3 C class motorhome. After numerous trial runs from our home base of Port Macquarie NSW, we were ready for the “biggy”.
Our main mission was to travel to Australia’s west coast to photograph the legendary WA wildflowers. We planned to bush camp as much as possible. That meant relying mainly on the LPG for cooking, refrigeration, washing and showering
Ovations have two 9kg bottles in their gas locker but I had no idea how much gas we would use. As it turned out, the return trip took 5 months and we paid for five refills.
Because Barbara is a meticulous record-keeper, her accountancy spreadsheets showed of a total spend on gas was $180 – an average of $36 per refill.
Now, remember, this occurred back in 2014. In those days, an accurate up-to-date guide for swap and refill prices didn’t exist. So in January 2015, I used my database skills and started a Facebook group page called “BBQ Gas Bottle Refills – cheapest in Australia?”.
I invited people keen to save money when refilling or swapping their gas bottles to join the group. The idea was that within six months of joining, members would post at least one location where they had refilled or swapped and the cost. That data would then be listed in a spreadsheet for all members to see. In no time the group had close to 3,000 members and a database of more than 1,000 gas outlets right across Australia.
Later that year, the Campbells commenced a seven-month journey that would see them doing a 17,300 km half lap of Oz. The trip took them up the “Centre” and through some of the most costly outposts in Australia.
This time they needed seven refills. But now they had fairly accurate up-to-date information on where the cheapest refills were.
Just $19.02!!! What a huge difference compared to the first trip … a saving of almost $17.00 a refill.
Naturally, I wanted to share this good news with everyone. To fellow grey nomads we met, a dollar saved was a gold nugget found.
But having met so many on that trip I discovered there was a huge security fear about Facebook. At “Happy Hours” there were stories of houses being broken into because thieves had learned via Facebook that the occupants were away. Of course, the purveyors of such doom and gloom failed to mention one fact… even then, Facebook had introduced many settings to ensure users could keep such details private.
But at the time, it became clearly evident that Facebook was not the best medium for reaching grey nomads. Nor was a cumbersome Excell spreadsheet the ideal way to locate the data … and that’s why this very popular bottled gas website came about.