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
This Chase Card Is Great for Groceries and Cash Back on Everything
This Chase Card Is Great for Groceries and Cash Back on Everything

You could earn more than $600 cash back in your first year just from grocery shopping.

The 10 Best Outdoor Home Upgrades for Your Money
The 10 Best Outdoor Home Upgrades for Your Money

There’s still time this summer to make improvements to the exterior of your home. These offer the best payback.

15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It
15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It

Discover some must-have products on Amazon that you didn’t even know you were missing.

5 Ways to Save up $500,000 in 15 Years
5 Ways to Save up $500,000 in 15 Years

Even if you’re behind in preparing for retirement, there’s still a way to pull together a solid nest egg if you focus.

6 Investing Tools That Help You Diversify
6 Investing Tools That Help You Diversify

Here’s how you can lend to startup businesses, fund social causes or get in on investments once available only to the very rich.

View this page without ads

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

Get Started

Most Popular
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.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

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.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare
14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare

These services could save you money and help prevent costly health problems.

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.

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.