7 Smart Ways to Save Money at the Gas Pump

Happy woman at gas pump
Photo by goodluz / Shutterstock.com

American drivers love their cars but loathe the cost of gas. Whether prices at the pump are rising, falling or holding steady, fueling up is often one of the biggest household budget-busters.

Fortunately, there are ways to fight back. Even small savings can be a boon for you.

With that in mind, we present the best ways to save money on gas every time you pull up to the pump.

1. Use a smartphone app

Technology has been a benefit to frugal folks everywhere. Finding the best deal on clothing, restaurants and grocery items has never been easier. Your smartphone also can help you find the best deal on gas.

For example, the app GasBuddy can help you uncover the lowest gas price in your area. And such savings can be large. I have found that prices in the area near my Colorado home can differ by as much as 19 cents per gallon from one gas station to another.

2. Break your bad driving habits

Accelerating quickly and braking hard can lower your gas mileage by roughly 15% to 30% at highway speeds and 10% to 40% in heavy traffic.

So learning to avoid such maneuvers can significantly reduce the amount of gas you use and thus enable you to buy gas less often.

3. Open a gas rewards credit card

This works best for people who always go to the same gas station. If you exhibit such loyalty, applying for the appropriate credit card can net you substantial savings on gas prices over the course of a year.

Of course, that assumes you pay off your bill in full every month, avoiding interest charges. If you do, use a free online resource like Money Talks News’ credit card search tool to explore gas rewards credit cards. Select “Gas Rewards” from the menu on the left to limit the search results to that type of card.

4. Don’t buy premium gas unless it’s required

A 2018 AAA report found that drivers collectively waste $2.1 billion per year on high-octane gas. In other words, they paid extra for premium gas even though it wasn’t required or even recommended for their cars.

AAA advises saving your money and only buying premium gas if your car requires it. In fact, paying for premium when it’s not required is one of the mistakes we cite in “The 3 Worst Money Mistakes You Make at Gas Stations.”

5. Avoid filling up over the weekend

Friday, Saturday and Sunday are the three worst days of the week to buy gas, as far as cost is concerned, according to a recent GasBuddy analysis.

If possible, fill up on Mondays. In most states, gas prices are lower on Mondays than on any other day.

6. Take advantage of grocery fuel programs

Some grocery stores reward their shoppers with fuel perks programs that can cut the cost of your next fill-up. Check with your favorite food seller.

For example, sign up at Kroger, and you earn 1 fuel point for every $1 you spend. Even better, you get twice the points when you buy gift cards. You can then use the points to net savings on gas at Kroger Fuel Centers.

7. Join a warehouse club

Warehouse clubs such as Costco, BJ’s and Sam’s Club sell gas to members. It is often — though not always — among the lowest-priced gas in town. That’s why we include gas in our “10 Best Buys at Warehouse Clubs.”

This option especially makes sense for shoppers who, like me, know they will visit or at least drive by their warehouse club at least once weekly.

What’s your best tip for cutting the price of gas? Share it by commenting below or on our Facebook page.

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