Gas continues to be a large expense and unfortunately many households are struggling to cover their gas bills each month. This might date me, but I was 17 when gas was just 99¢ a gallon. Oh, those were the days! When a salad cost less than a hamburger. Since those times are gone and most likely will never come back, here are 25 ways to save money on gas.
25 Ways to Save Money on Gas
Sign up for rewards clubs
Sign up for rewards clubs at gas stations and grocery stores. My local Fred Meyer has a rewards program that I use and I love it. Depending on what is available, these programs range from helping you acquire points towards amounts off at gas stations or points for dollar amounts that help you pay for gas. They are highly valuable and if you are going to be spending your money at that store anyway, why not get cheaper gas in the long run for it as an added bonus? It’s one of my favorite ways on how to save money on gas!
One way I like to save on gas is to go to websites where discounted gift cards are sold and buy them at a lower rate than the value on the card. You can often find gift cards for chain gas stations like Shell and Texaco for a few dollars less than the amount left on the card. It doesn’t save you a ton of money, but every dollar matters, right? Plus, this is a great way to pre-pay for gas and have your cards ready to use for fill ups. You can buy only what you need for the month and help make a better budget for gas or buy in advance.
Use Gas Buddy
Gasbuddy.com is a real time (people reported) website that will allow you to put in your location and it will tell you the cheapest gas in your area. Since gas stations vary in price so much, even in the same city or town, this is a great tool to save money on gas bills. There is an app for it as well that makes it easy to find the cheapest gas while you are out and about or if you are traveling and don’t know the area well.
Never fill up your tank when they are filling theirs
If you ever drive up to the gas station and they are filling the reservoirs full of gas to provide to the gas station, don’t get gas at that time. There is more air in the tubes during that time and so the amount of gas you will be getting is LESS than when they are not filling those reservoirs. So, you basically get less bang for your buck when you fill up and they are there.
Well I do this anyway because a lot of traffic freaks me out. People drive nuts, just sayin.’ But the less stop-and-go traffic you have, the better gas mileage you’ll get. Plain and simple.
Get gas close to your home
If you figure it out, penny to the penny, you might just spend more driving to a cheaper gas station than filling up at a higher price at the station around the corner from you. I used to live around the corner from Chevron and it was always cheaper for me to fill up there, even though it was higher per gallon than to fill up at Costco’s gas station, Costco was around 7 1/2 miles away. Do the math and make sure you’re not being lured by a lower price.
Let’s say your gas tank is 13 gallons and the difference is 10¢, even if you were on empty, that would be $1.30 to fill it up. My car gets 15 mpg. If gas is $3.27 per gallon at Costco and $3.17 at Chevron, I would literally be paying $3.17 to drive 15 miles round trip to fill up at Costco. The difference I’d be overpaying to get gas at Costco is $1.87, but it LOOKS cheaper on that billboard right? Don’t be deceived. Make sure it’s REALLY cheaper.
If you drive to work and you live close to neighbors, carpool. On the freeways in big cities, you can use the carpool lane, which is usually less stop and go traffic, thus saving you even more!
Keep your car in top shape
This can be expensive, but the money you save in the long run can be worth it. Getting regular oil changes, keeping your tires in good shape and properly inflated to the recommended weight, and getting tune-ups can really help you get the maximum in fuel efficiency.
Use public transportation or walk and bike when you can
Not only is walking and biking great exercise, but if you find that you use your car for short trips a lot, you may be using more gas than is necessary. Before I moved to this house, I would literally watch my neighbor start her car and get in to drive about half a block to get her mail every day. I thought it was crazy. If you can take the bus, walk or bike somewhere local, you may want to consider doing it.
Be sure your car is fuel efficient for your needs
It can sometimes make a huge difference between a small car and a Ford F350 truck, you know….even the difference between a V6 and a V4 can be astronomical. If you commute, get a smaller car and save money on gas.
Don’t purchase gas on holidays
Generally speaking gas goes up on holidays, especially 3 day weekends like Labor Day and Memorial Day. Gas companies know more people travel during those days, so they jack up the prices. Same goes for during the summer, although, it’s kinda hard to go the whole summer without filling up. LOL.
Don’t buy gas right off the freeway
It tends to be a lot more expensive there. It’s best to buy gas within a city or at a travel center. If you’re taking a long trip, plan your gas stations ahead of time so you know exactly which city and where to stop to get the best rates.
Check out my article, 37 Reasons to Shop Online. You may not even need to run to the store anyway!
I know, I know, that’s probably the only time you’ll EVER hear me say buy off brand products, but with gas, I don’t think it really matters. The mom and pop gas station down the street with the lower gas prices probably gets their gas from the same place as a brand name company (anyone know if they do? I’d be interested to know that!)
Don’t carry around bags of sand in your trunk
While putting bags of sand on each side of your truck is a good idea if you’re driving in snow and don’t have snow tires to avoid fish-tailing, it makes your car heavier, thus uses more gas. Likewise, don’t carry around other heavy items and watch your roof rack too!
Pay attention to your timing
Right before weekends, gas goes up in price, so try not to buy gas on Friday. Also, buying during the latter part of a workweek (Wednesday/Thursday) can also help. In the morning is also a better time as most stations raise their prices by noon if there is a price increase.
Keep your speed at 55 mph
Okay, so like I really don’t know who does this, especially if the speed limit is 65 mph, but it’s been proven that driving at a consistent, steady speed of 55 mph not only saves lives on the freeway, but it’ll help you save gas too. You suck up a lot of gas by pushing on the accelerator, so use cruise control when you can to avoid that. Fueleconomy.gov says that for every 5 miles over 50 mph, you are paying 15¢ more…so if you are driving 65 mph, the normal speed limit in most areas, you’re paying 45¢ more.
Check for leaks
Be sure that your car is not leaking gas. Even a small drip here and there can really add up over time and usually when it’s a small drip, the hole gets bigger and bigger and bigger until it’s taken care of.
Run all your errands together
If you are on one side of town, run all your errands at the same time, so that you are not backtracking. When I go yard saleing, I’ll pull a map on mapquest and map out everything so that I hit the sales in order of how they are on the map. This saves a lot of gas. That deal you scored at the yard sale may not really be a deal if you are paying $30 in gas! That’s called expensive entertainment!
Don’t warm up your car for so long
I gotta be honest, I love a warm car in the snow-filled mornings, so I run it for a good 5 minutes, but I find that cutting back to about 3 minutes instead, gives me about the same warmth in the car when I hop in than 5. It may not be much, but that is 10 minutes a week, 40 minutes a month. Better yet, do 1-2 minutes, but please, whatever you do, don’t lock your keys in the car while the car is running. I’ll never forget that morning when my daughter did that! That tow truck took FOREVER…or at least it seemed that way!
Don’t wait until the last minute to fill up
You just might get stuck paying way too much if you are close to being out of gas. I like to fill up when the gauge gets to 1/4 tank full. Then, I can get gas when I’m over there by the gas station, rather than when I’m on my way to an appointment, which would probably make me late.
Turn off the A/C or heater
This may not be one of my most popular save money on gas tips, but using the A/C or heater functions, while convenient, suck up an incredible amount of gas. If you can stand it, don’t use them if you are trying to save on gas. If it’s hot outside, roll down your windows or use Peppermint essential oil to cool your body down.
Make sure your gas cap is on tight
If it’s not, it’s a great way to lose gas. Be sure your gas cap fits well and it goes on nice and tight.
Use a debit card that earns you cash back
I love Paypal’s debit card. Works just like any other debit card, except that they give you a % back every month. I try to pay EVERYTHING from that card. Haven’t figured out how to pay my rent from it yet, but I’m still thinking of ways! LOL
Okay, I just had to throw that one in! When I was completely without a car, I was borrowing this kind man’s car from my church and it was a suped up Mercedes that ran on vegetable oil! Talk about saving on gas money. He would literally go to the Chinese food place and get their old oil and use it in his car. Since I love Chinese food, my friends used to tell me I smelled good coming AND going….the only problem was that it always made me hungry! LOL
Did I miss anything in this list of 25 ways to save money on gas? What is your favorite way to save money on gas? What challenged your thinking in this article?