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 — especially now that gas prices continue to rise even higher as the Russia-Ukraine crisis and inflation rage on.
With that in mind, we present the best ways to save money on gas every time you pull up to the pump.
1. Break your bad driving habits
Accelerating quickly and braking hard can lower your gas mileage by 10% to 40%, as we detail in “8 Bad Driving Habits That Cost You at the Gas Pump.”
So learning to avoid such maneuvers can significantly reduce the amount of gas you use and thus enable you to buy gas less often.
2. 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.
3. 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 buying premium gas only if your car requires it. In fact, paying for premium when it’s not required is one of the mistakes we cite in “3 Surprisingly Costly Mistakes We Make at Gas Stations.”
4. Avoid filling up on Thursdays
Thursday is the worst day of the week to buy gas, as far as cost is concerned, with Wednesday ranked second-worst, according to a recent GasBuddy analysis.
If possible, fill up on Mondays. In many states, gas prices are lower on Mondays than on any other day.
5. Buy gas at 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.
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.
Not a member? At some warehouse clubs, that’s not necessarily a problem, as we detail in “How to Buy Gas at Costco Without a Membership.”
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. Use an app
Technology has been a benefit to frugal folks everywhere. Finding the best deal on clothing, restaurants and grocery items has never been easier. And your smartphone can help you find the best deal on gas.
For example, the app GasBuddy can help you uncover the lowest gas prices 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.