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October 18, 2023
20 Ways to Save Money on Gas

Every month, Americans spend between $150 and $200 on gas. There are many factors that contribute to this, including the state, lifestyle, and driving habits. Gas still accounts for almost 2.24% of American families’ monthly income, or about $5,000 per year.

However, those figures are higher.

As of this writing, the price of oil hit over $93 a barrel — the highest price of the year. That means that the national average gas price is $3.875

Gas prices typically drop after Labor Day when driving season ends. Instead, Saudi Arabia and Russia’s aggressive supply cuts have boosted oil prices this year. So, we could expect to see even more pain at the pump.

You can, however, reduce your fuel consumption and save money on gas by doing a number of things.

1. Download a gas station app.

“If you’re just looking at the price from the street, you’re leaving money on the table,” Patrick De Haan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, told Consumer Reports.

The easiest way to shop around for the best prices? Take advantage of the many smartphone apps available, such as those from GasBuddy, AAA, and Gas Guru. Both Apple and Android devices are supported — usually for free. Fuel grades can be filtered, distance and price can be sorted, and GPS directions can be provided.

In addition to providing real-time traffic alerts and driving directions, the Google Maps and Waze apps also provide gas prices.

AAA manager Michael Calkins adds that you may be able to get a better deal at stations that are not located near major highways. Sometimes, though, it is not worth taking a big detour to save money.

2. Decide which rewards program or credit card is right for you.

In order to choose the right rewards program or credit card, you should consider your spending habits and what rewards are important to you. For example, rewards credit cards offer points back when you use them at participating gas stations. Or membership stores, such as Costco, Sam’s Club, and Walmart Plus, that sell gas at reduced prices.

Here are a few things to consider:

Annual fee. Annual fees can quickly deplete savings. It may be worth it, however, if it offers savings elsewhere.
Reward caps. Gas savings may be capped every quarter or every year. Check the rewards cap for your card and determine what you spend.
Redemption value. Cash or miles can be redeemed for points. It is important to understand the value of each reward point. Some are even less than a penny.
Pump or gas station. Gas rewards from some credit cards can be used on anything bought at a filling station, while others only apply to purchases made at the pump.
Membership requirements. Is joining a hassle or are there membership fees?

You may want to consider the following rewards programs and credit cards:

Cash-back rewards. A cash-back credit card can offer you a simple and straightforward rewards program. You can redeem your cash rewards for anything you like. You’ll earn a percentage of your spending back in cash.
Travel rewards. The best way to save money on flights, hotels, and other travel expenses is to use a credit card that offers travel rewards. As you spend, you’ll earn points or miles that can be redeemed for free travel or discounts on travel.
Store-specific rewards programs. You may want to sign up for a rewards program if you frequent a particular store or chain. Whenever you spend, you’ll earn points or rewards that can be redeemed for future discounts.

The Costco Anywhere Visa card from Citi is a solid rewards card exclusive to Costco members, for example. Spending $7,000 or more on eligible gasoline earns you 4% cash back at Costco (paid as Costco store credit). Please note that if you are using a credit card you must pay off the entire balance or else the interest will wipe out all the savings you have made.

Bonus point: Gas stations such as Shell, BP, Exxon, Murphy USA and Speedway have rewards programs that can help you save on gas. It is usually free to join. The majority of reward programs offer a discount at the pump, while others award points that can be redeemed for discounts.

3. Reduce driving by modifying your commute.

You are more likely to break your wallet, as well as damage the environment, if you drive to work alone. This is especially true in crowded business districts where parking is limited and expensive.

Try to find a more cost-effective way to commute instead. Different options exist depending on your physical fitness, where you live, and how much time you have in the morning.

Carpool with co-workers near you and swap driving responsibilities on a daily or weekly basis.
Share rides through Uber and Lyft with others and split the cost.
Reduce your travel costs with public transportation, such as a bus or train with a monthly pass.
Getting to work by bike.

4. Fill up with regular fuel.

It is not necessary to buy premium gas unless the car manufacturer specifically states that premium gas is required or required only (not just “preferred”). In most cases, the engine won’t be damaged by running the car with regular gas. All top-tier gasoline contains detergent additives that keep engines clean, according to automakers.

In general, gasoline grade price differences have increased since 2006. As of 2022, average national prices for midgrade gasoline were 49 cents higher than for regular-grade gasoline, and for premium-grade gasoline were 79 cents higher than for regular grade.

5. Prepare a fill-up plan.

You should pay attention to when you buy gas. According to GasBuddy studies, Thursday is the worst day to fill up your tank due to weekend travelers’ demand, followed by Wednesday. Mondays and Sundays are usually the cheapest days to buy gas.

By being strategic rather than waiting until your tank is almost empty, you can save money on gas.

6. Determine the most efficient route to your destination.

Fuel is used more when a car accelerates than when it coasts or cruises. In other words, the shortest route to your destination may not necessarily be the most fuel-efficient. A more fuel-efficient route is the one with:

Fewer stoplights.
Less congestion.
Lower traffic volumes.
Better traffic flow generally.

In short, it’s the one with the least acceleration and deceleration. According to FuelEconomy.gov, these basic defensive driving techniques can cut fuel consumption by up to 40% in stop-and-go traffic, and up to 30% on highways.

To make this easier, you can also take advantage of navigation apps that incorporate real-time traffic data, such as Waze. Apple Maps or Google Maps can display stoplights and other traffic control measures.

7. Combine your errands.

When possible, consolidate errands around town to reduce your mileage.

Consider, for instance, dedicating one day of the week to do all the grocery shopping, home improvement, and post office shopping at once, rather than doing them one after the other. You can grab milk and cereal on your way home from work if you need them for the kids.

Overall, you’ll pay less in gas if you make fewer trips out.

8. Get rid of your roof rack or carrier.

Long after the ski trip is over, carriers often remain atop because because they look cool. The thing is, both increase the weight of the car and reduce aerodynamics.

To demonstrate this, the Consumer Reports panel fitted pods and racks to a Nissan Altima and Toyota RAV4 that were going 65 mph. With a rack, the Altima drops 11% to 48 mpg (to 39 mpg) and 19% (to 40 mpg) with an integrated rack and carrier. In other words, if you drive 1,000 non-vacation miles on the highway, you will have to pay an extra $20.

Permanent, factory-installed roof rails, which run from front to back, do not significantly reduce drag.

9. Pay with cash.

In some stations, you can pay with cash instead of using a credit card for a lower price. Usually, the difference between cash and credit prices is between 5 and 15 cents per gallon. Also, using a debit card may give you the same discounted rate as using cash.

In addition, if you pay with cash inside a gas station, you will avoid the skimmers that thieves sometimes install on the credit card readers at gas stations.

10. Follow the speed limit.

According to FuelEconomy.gov, vehicles optimize fuel consumption at different speeds, but above 50 mph fuel efficiency rapidly declines.

For every 5 mph increase above that threshold, add $0.25 to $0.50 per gallon burned — assuming $3.50 per gallon.

Obviously, driving 50 mph on the highway isn’t safe or practical. Your best bet is to drive in the slowest lane at the speed of traffic. On the open highway, that usually means obeying the posted speed limit, which can be 75 or 80 miles per hour.

Regardless, try to stay within the limit to avoid wasting fuel.

11. Use cruise control at the right times.

You can conserve fuel by maintaining a steady speed on flat terrain, such as highways, using cruise control. On the flip side, as your vehicle accelerates up steep inclines on hilly or mountainous roads, cruise control causes it to burn too much gas.

Whenever you go up a hill, let your speed decrease slightly before slowly accelerating when you come down to save gas and money. As a result, you will not have to work your engine too hard, and you will be able to fill up your gas tank less frequently.

12. Clean out your trunk.

There is a 2% reduction in fuel economy when you add 100 pounds. So, take a couple of minutes and find ways to reduce the amount of weight in your vehicle. I’m talking about your summer beach gear or the items you plan to donate.

13. Hypermile even further.

The goal of hypermiling is to maximize fuel efficiency as much as possible. Choosing routes that need less braking and acceleration is one example. Another is cleaning out your trunk so your vehicle weighs less. Other rules include timing lights and minimizing idling.

In the summer, hypermilers can park in the shade when it’s hot to reduce cooling costs and face the sun when it’s cold to save on defrosting.

14. Make use of toll passes.

It can be fuel-inefficient to stop to pay tolls — especially on busy highways. Generally, drivers barely have to slow down when there is a toll tag on their windshield. A study conducted by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority found that 1.2 million gallons of fuel were saved in the first year with the use of the E-Z Pass.

15. Purchase discounted gas cards from resellers.

Users can sell and buy unused Chevron, Shell, BP, Texaco, and other gas gift cards through Raise and Gift Card Granny.

In addition to gift cards at retail rates, both sites sell gift cards at a discount, and Gift Card Granny also sells rewards cards.

16. Don’t search for the perfect parking spot.

A study by Inrix found that American motorists waste about $345 in fuel looking for parking each year – though some doubt those numbers.

Regardless of the exact figure, parking farther from your destination will reduce fuel waste. Don’t drive around the block yet again looking for the perfect spot, but head a few blocks away to a less crowded area and take a walk.

17. Keep your car’s recommended maintenance schedule in mind.

By maintaining a vehicle properly, fuel economy is improved and harmful emissions are reduced. Maintaining your vehicle’s oxygen sensor in good working order is of particular importance. According to FuelEconomy.gov, faulty sensors can reduce fuel economy by up to 40%.

Your engine can burn gas more efficiently if you periodically replace your air filter and spark plugs — either on your own or during a routine auto checkup.

It’s also possible to improve fuel economy by 4% by maintaining your engine tuned – one of the key components of manufacturer-recommended scheduled maintenance.

18. Ensure that your tires are correctly inflated.

Compared to properly inflated tires, under-inflated tires burn one cent more fuel per mile than properly inflated tires. To put that another way, a full tank of gas will take you about 350 miles, which means that you’re wasting $3.50 per fill-up. When it comes to fuel efficiency, don’t ignore those pesky tire-pressure indicators.

19. Check the seal on your gas cap.

Gas cap seals can weaken over time and allow oxygen to leak into the gas tank, resulting in more gas being burned. However, if you drive an older vehicle, you might not be notified by a warning light. If you notice a decline in gas mileage, you may only suspect the problem.

There are a lot of places to buy cheap gas caps, such as major retailers or even Amazon. In many cars, gas cap sensors cannot detect replacements that aren’t made by the original manufacturer.

The dealer must replace your fuel cap if you don’t want it to remain illuminated perpetually. According to Repair Pal, you’ll pay between $98 and $103 for that.

20. Invest in a hybrid or all-electric vehicle.

Consider buying a hybrid-electric, plug-in hybrid-electric, or all-electric vehicle when purchasing a new or used vehicle. Toyota RAV4, Hyundai Sonata, and Volvo XC90 are just a few of the popular cars and SUVs that are available in hybrid form.

In addition to these models, there are hybrid and electric-only models like Toyota Prius, Honda Clarity, and Chevrolet Bolt, as well as totally electric cars like Tesla.

The federal government may offer tax credits as large as $7,500 to consumers who buy plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles, lowering their net costs significantly. There is a comprehensive list of currently eligible vehicles and the exact credit amount on FuelEconomy.gov.

FAQs

What are some common myths about saving money on gas?

The following myths about gas savings are common:

Myth: It’s better to fill up your tank in the morning to save gas.
Fact: Your car’s fuel economy is not affected by the temperature of the ground.
Myth: Rolling down your windows saves gas.
Fact: Open windows can reduce fuel economy by up to 10%.
Myth: Premium gasoline can save you money.
Fact: Premium gasoline is not necessary for most cars. Fuel economy will not be improved by using premium gasoline, and may even be reduced.

How much money can I save on gas?

Based on your driving habits and the type of vehicle you drive, you will be able to save on gas. You can save a great deal on gas if you follow the tips above.

As an example, you could save $1,000 per year if you drove 10,000 miles per year and saved 10 cents per gallon on gas.

What are some ways to save money on gas on long trips?

On long trips, you can save money by doing the following:

Plan your route carefully. Avoid unnecessary detours by mapping out your route.
Pack light. Having less weight on your bike will improve your gas mileage.
Use cruise control. When you use cruise control, you can save gas by maintaining a consistent speed.
Take breaks. Every few hours, take a break from driving and stretch your legs. By doing so, you’ll be able to keep alert and avoid fatigue, which can make you more likely to make mistakes.
Fill up at the cheapest gas station. When it comes to gas prices, it pays to shop around to find the lowest price using an app like GasBuddy.

What are some ways to save money on gas when buying a car?

If you’re buying a car, here are some ways to save money on gas:

Choose a fuel-efficient car. Whenever you’re shopping for a car, pay attention to the fuel economy rating. A car with a higher rating will be more fuel-efficient.
Consider buying a hybrid or electric car. Compared to traditional gasoline-powered cars, hybrids and electric cars get better gas mileage.
Buy a used car. It is often cheaper to buy a used car than to buy a new car, and they can still get good gas mileage when properly maintained.

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Featured Image Credit: Erik Mclean; Pexels; Thank you!

The post 20 Ways to Save Money on Gas appeared first on ReadWrite.

 

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