High demand, limited crude oil supply and distribution problems caused gas prices to skyrocket last year. So it definitely helps to know how to save on gas.
After retail gas peaked at $5.03 a gallon in June, the average gas price for all grades fell to $4.67 a gallon in July (opens in new tab). That’s still 45% more than a year ago.
Although retail gas prices are expected to continue falling into 2022, and are projected to average $3.57 in 2023, refilling could still be a real budget-wrecker until the cost-per-gallon returns to relatively normal levels.
The good news is that the following money-saving tips and hacks could help you save money at the pump.
Sign up for the Gasoline Rewards Program at your local grocery store
Several grocery stores have shopping incentive programs that provide gas discounts. For example, GIANT has the GIANT Choice Rewards (opens in new tab) Program that gives members one point for every dollar spent at the grocery store.
Every 100 points you earn qualifies you for a $0.10 per gallon rebate when you fill up at GIANT stores and other Shell gas stations.
If you have a large family or spend more than $100 at the grocery store each week, these accumulated points can translate into significant savings at the pump.
Safe way (opens in new tab)Kroeger (opens in new tab)Harris Teeter (opens in new tab) and Stop & Shop (opens in new tab) are other grocery stores that offer fuel discount programs.
Find stations that offer cash discounts
In some states, gas stations may offer discounts if you pay cash. This discount is because gas stations bypass the merchant’s transaction fee when you use cash instead of debit or credit.
Availability of cash discounts varies, but they can be marketed in states like Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts on the east coast.
Fill up in discount department stores
Pass a Costco (opens in new tab) or Sam’s Club (opens in new tab)and you may find that petrol is 5 to 30 cents cheaper than at other local gas stations.
That’s because stockists make their money from memberships and in-store purchases, giving them the flexibility to offer discounts at the pump to attract new and loyal customers.
Buying a camp membership for $40-$60 a year could be worth the savings you can pocket on cheap gas.
Download a gas saver app
Several fuel-saving apps help drivers to find cheap petrol on the way to work. Here are a few options to consider, all of which are free to download and use:
- Fuelio (opens in new tab): Fuelio is a fuel consumption tracker and fuel savings finder in one. Drivers can use the app to track fuel costs and mileage. The app also shows you gas prices at gas stations near you, so you can search for cheap deals.
- GasBuddy (opens in new tab): GasBuddy shows you where cheap gas is and provides gas maps and gas tables so you can check trends. If you sign up for the GasBuddy card and use it to pay for gas, you can also qualify for rebates of up to 25 cents per gallon.
- gas guru (opens in new tab): Gas Guru also helps drivers find cheap gas stations and you can save locations to keep up to date with prices.
- Waze (opens in new tab): Waze is known for helping drivers avoid traffic and traffic hazards, but you can also use the app to navigate to gas stations with affordable gas.
It’s worth noting that app platforms may rely on gas data shared by other users to help you find cheap gas, so the accuracy of prices depends on frequency driver update prices. If the app is not widely distributed or used in your area, you may find that gas prices are incorrect or unavailable.
Apply for a gas rewards credit card
Fuel token credit cards return you a certain number of points, miles or cash each time you use your credit card to buy gas. You can then exchange these earned rewards for account credits to help offset gas costs, or redeem rewards for gift cards, travel, and more.
Credit card reward opportunities can vary, so it’s always a good idea to compare options before committing to a card. Some cards also have an annual fee to watch out for, and credit cards usually charge interest if you don’t pay your bill every month.
To get the most benefit from a rewards credit card, you should pay off your balance in full each month to avoid interest and ensure the rewards you earn exceed the charge. For example, if the fee for a credit card is $99 per year, you need to ensure that you earn over $99 in rewards each year in order for the card to be cost-effective.
Drive slower and pack lighter
Changing your driving habits could help you reduce your gas mileage. If your car uses less fuel, you will need to fill up less often.
Frequent acceleration and speeding can decrease mileage per gallon. Slowing down on highways or using cruise control to maintain speed can save fuel.
Lightening your load is another way to reduce gas mileage. So consider taking bikes off the roof, removing items from the truck bed, or emptying your back seat.
Do not leave the engine running
Idling your car is a waste of fuel, especially if you have a large vehicle. If possible, turn off your car to save fuel.
This could mean not leaving the car running while you’re packing or turning off your vehicle when dealing with school pickups. Small changes could result in better fuel efficiency and less spending.
How to save money on gas: conclusion
Working remotely, biking to work (or riding a scooter), and investing in a monthly pass are other ways to squeeze gas out of your budget. But in situations where driving is unavoidable, using the above strategies can help you keep gas costs manageable until prices drop.
The best part is that most of the options on this list are free, with the exception of camp membership and the rewards credit card if you opt for one that has an annual fee.
Ultimately, we can’t control gas prices, but smart shopping can help lessen the impact on our wallets.