How to Save Gas Money This Holiday Season

Photo (cc) by taylor.a

Over the years, I’ve told you how to buy a like-new car for $5,000, how to get out of a car lease, and how to beat a traffic ticket. But when it comes to beating the high price of gasoline, well, good advice is harder to come by. In fact, most of my advice is to avoid other people’s advice.

What got me thinking about this hot topic again is the latest news about gas prices this winter. With the Federal Reserve trying to stimulate the economy, most financial experts predict those moves will also hike the cost of crude oil – which eventually trickles down to the pump. Already, the national average price of a gallon jumped from $2.792 last month to $2.854 today, according to AAA’s daily fuel report. This time last year, gas was $2.669, on average.

A typical motorist might use 50 gallons a month, so if prices are up almost 20 cents a gallon from last year, that’s $10 a month. At least they’re still below the 2008 high of $3.15, which rose to more than $4 in certain areas.

So what can you do? First and foremost, let me tell you what not to do…

  1. Avoid the gadgets: Whenever gas prices spike, so does interest in all sorts of additives and devices that purport to extend your fuel dollar. Before doing anything, read Gas Saving Devices A Scam?
  2. Don’t be cutting edge: Maybe you’ve heard that you can Run A Car On Cooking Oil, and as I’ve written about, it’s true. But that doesn’t mean you should try it yourself. No matter how high prices get, there’s no such thing as a free lunch or a free ride. Alternative fuels require lots of know-how, time and attention, so if you can’t spare both, look elsewhere for savings.
  3. Be wary of online deals: In 2008, I told you about a couple of websites that were trying to create national “buyers clubs” that would save you money at the pump by pooling the money of multiple members and “pre-purchasing” gas for them to use. I warned that, while this seemed like a decent idea, you might want to wait to kick in your membership fees of $25-$30. Well, I was right. One of those site, GasBank.com, is already out of business. The other, MyGallons.com, is still around and seems to have its supporters and detractors. Bottom line: It’s not for everyone.

Accentuating the positive

So now that you know what to avoid, what should you do? Of course, there’s all sorts of advice out there about whether to drive faster or slower and with your windows up or down. But what I’ve notice from Googling all this conflicting advice is this: You can spend a lot of time deciding what to do, and you’ll still save only a few bucks for all the time you’ve invested.

My advice is to focus first on the areas where you can save big…

  1. Make the trade: when the recession first hit and gas prices first spiked, Americans with big SUVs were stuck. No one was going to buy them, so trading down to a gas-sipping vehicle wasn’t even possible. As I’ve mentioned in Trading In Your Gas-Guzzler, the best time to make the switch is when gas prices are low – because not only are SUVs a tad more attractive to, say, a soccer mom, but that used Camry you have your sights set on is cheaper, too. So if you’re thinking about making the switch, do it now before prices go higher.
  2. Save at more than the pump: Obsessing about gas prices is the Americn way. Maintaining your ride so you save money all the time? Not so much. So let me take this opportunity to remind you about 5 Tips for Cheaper Driving.
  3. Don’t feel so bad: Here’s a reminder that no matter how high gas prices get here, you could be living in Norway – and pay more than $7 a gallon.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
9 Purchases That Will Make You More Productive
9 Purchases That Will Make You More Productive

These Amazon products can give you an extra edge at work and other parts of your life.

3 Reasons You Can’t Rely on Medicare Alone
3 Reasons You Can’t Rely on Medicare Alone

Counting on Medicare to cover health care costs can jeopardize your retirement plans.

15 of the Fastest-Growing Jobs Today
15 of the Fastest-Growing Jobs Today

Times are tough, but these career fields are thriving.

Why Cutting the Cord Can Be Confusing — and How to Decide If It’s for You
Why Cutting the Cord Can Be Confusing — and How to Decide If It’s for You

Streaming TV might sound like the antidote to sky-high cable bills, but cutting the cord is easier said than done.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone
8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco
11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?
Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?

The rules are complicated when it comes to eligibility for survivors benefits.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked
11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

7 Stores That Match — or Beat — Amazon Prices
7 Stores That Match — or Beat — Amazon Prices

These retailers offer some of the most consumer-friendly price-match policies anywhere.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.