With gas prices rising across the nation, many consumers are feeling the strain when filling up at the pump. In fact, some western states (such as California and Nevada) are seeing prices at more than $5.00 per gallon! With fuel prices increasing just in time for spring and summer travel, how can you save on gas? Take a look at these twelve tips!
1) Find the Cheapest Gas
Gas prices generally vary in a specific area by a few cents per gallon. Finding the stations with the cheapest gas every time you fill up could save you a couple of extra bucks, and as we all know, a penny saved is a penny earned. Apps such as GasBuddy, Gas Guru, and Waze can all be used to help you find stations with the cheapest gas prices.
2) Pre-Plan Your Fill-Ups
The price of gas fluctuates during the week, and sometimes even during the same day! However, you can typically expect a slight drop in gas prices during the middle of the week on Tuesday or Wednesday. Prices can increase on Thursday and Friday as people prepare for weekend trips. Gas prices also tend to be a bit cheaper early in the mornings, sometimes rising later in the day after gas station owners see their competitor’s prices. Therefore, planning to buy gas before 8 am on Tuesdays or Wednesdays could help you get the best prices.
3) Clean Out your Car
Are you lugging around junk in your car that you don’t need, but haven’t had the time to take out? Cleaning out your vehicle regularly can actually save you money on gas! The more your car (and its contents) weigh, the more gas it takes to move. Removing all but your emergency and essential items can literally lighten your car’s load and make your vehicle more fuel-efficient.
4) Get a Cash-Back Credit Card
Use a rewards card when filling up with gas to get money back on every purchase you make. These rewards can be used to get great offers, or even to receive money back into your account. Compare credit cards to find an offer that pays you each time you have to spend money at the gas pump!
5) Or, Use Cash instead of Cards
Gas prices are often cheaper when you pay with cash, because the cost of the transaction fee is factored in when using a card. In fact, the price of gas can go up by 10 to 15 cents if you pay with a card, which means for every 10 gallons, you’re paying an extra dollar. If you’ve used 500 gallons at the end of the year, that’s $50 you could save by paying with cash instead.
6) Maintain your Vehicle
Keeping your car well-maintained can keep it more fuel efficient, while having a poorly maintained car can use more gas. Make sure to get your car regularly checked out by a mechanic and fix any issues that could potentially impact your fuel usage. Also be sure to check your tire pressure, as having tires that are too flat could cause you to need more gas per mile. Most cars will now alert you if your pressure is too low, but it’s worth double checking every couple of months to keep your tires at the optimal level.
7) Don’t Idle
When possible, shut off your car if you’re not moving. Idling, even if you’re not moving, still uses up gas. Being aware of moments when you’re idling and turning your vehicle off instead can help save on gas.
8) Be a Responsible Driver
Speeding up aggressively and braking suddenly actually uses more gas than driving at a consistent, safe speed. Make the effort to be a responsible driver (which not only saves gas, but is safer in general!). While on long trips or on highways, use cruise control to help stay at a consistent speed. You’ll see the benefit when it’s time to fill up.
9) Consider Remote Work
As a result of COVID, many employers have embraced remote and work-from-home options for their employees. Remote work can eliminate the need for a daily commute, and many work-from-home employees list this as one of the largest benefits. While this isn’t possible for everyone, working from home even just one or two days a week can help you save on gas. Ask your employer if remote work is an option for you.
10) Get a New Car
If you’re already considering getting a new car, consider options that will help you save on gas in the long run. These include fuel-efficient cars with a high miles-per-gallon ratio, hybrid cars that use both gas and electricity, or an electric car that doesn’t require any gas at all. As well as saving money on gas, these options are also great for the environment. Research to see if any of these vehicles would work for you!
11) Consider Other Modes of Transport
Depending on where you live, you may be able to use something other than a vehicle for transportation. Perhaps you can bike to work instead, or take the subway to go get groceries. Maybe you can carpool with coworkers or friends while going to work or on errands. Using public transportation or other modes of transportation can help you save on gas, and are often better for the environment as well.
12) Find Other Ways to Save
While not specifically gas-related, it’s always a good idea to take a look at your budget and find other ways to save. Double check automatic and necessary expenses to ensure you’re getting a good deal. If you have a high mortgage interest rate, consider refinancing into a lower rate. Remember that every dollar saved counts, especially when gas prices are high.
Gas prices may be high, but that doesn’t mean you have to cancel that summer road trip! Utilize the above tips to find extra ways to save and put more cash back into your pocket.