Gas prices are a budgetary concern for those of us looking for ways to save money on gas. According to AAA prices are holding steady at approximately $2.59/gallon. Here are 10 easy ways you can start today:
I came across an article on Energy.gov that states that the optimum cruising speed for high fuel economy is between 40 & 50 miles per hour. Anything after that you’ll see a decrease in fuel economy by about 12%. The number increases as you increase speed.
Well, looks like I probably should avoid the highway – our speed limit in Nebraska is 75 miles per hour (not gonna lie, I’ve pushed 80+and I am a bit of a leadfoot) Luckily, I only go there three times a year.
But, you need to take into consideration the type of vehicle that you’re driving. If you’re like my family and drive bigger cars (Suburban, Explorer, Pacifica), then of course you’re fuel economy is almost non-existent. If you, on the other hand, drive a Corolla, then I’m sure you could drive almost “forever.”
In all seriousness, I’m a HUGE advocate for using common sense…I’m not suggesting for you to drive 40 miles per hour on the highway, unless of course you wish to get screamed at and possibly injured. In fact, I will be the first to tell you that if you do decide to drive slow on the highway
Get Your Car Serviced (ask me how I got my oil changed for free!)
Simple, bare necessities such as oil and filter changes can go a long way when it comes to getting the most out of your fuel. I personally love going to Jiffy Lube…if you get your oil changed there, they will top off fluids for free and check tire pressure – that’s always nice (but, they will not touch fluids like antifreeze and I think transmission fluid, just a heads up)
Check Your Tire Pressure
It is a great idea to keep a tire pressure gauge in your car. If you want to save money on gas, this is probably one of the simplest and easiest ways to do so. If you don’t already know the PSI (pounds per square inch), it’s a good idea to know it. The average is around 30-35; but, always know what your tires PSI is…that information can be found on the door of your car. You can also ask your mechanic.
There is a website that maps out all of the places that offers free air for your tires. Check it out here! It has worked well for me so far. If you know of some places that offer free air and they’re not listed, you can also submit them to the website.
Use Apps to Find the Best Price
- Gas Buddy – this is the first app that comes to my mind. It’s a very well-known, popular and effective app. They also have an option to pay at the pump using the app (you’ll have to link your checking account for this). Their website says that if you pay using the app, you can save an extra five cents per gallon.
- Mapquest – an oldie, but a goodie IMHO…Mapquest has been around since 1996. I personally started utilizing Mapquest in 2000 and it has been a go-to for me for years. By simply going to the Mapquest site, you can click on the gas icon on the left and it will bring up the gas prices of the stations that surround you.
- Google Maps – same concept as Mapquest…simply find the “more” button on the left and it will give you the option for gas. Click the gas button, lettle Google find your location and it gives you the gas prices in your area.
Join a Gas Station Rewards Program
These are just a few that I’m personally familiar with:
Exxon – like Gasbuddy, Exxon also has the option available where you pay through their app (you’ll have to link to your bank account – personally, I’m not disciplined enough for this). Earn 3 cents per gallon in points earned at the pump. Earn 2 cents in points for every dollar spend on drinks, etc. You even earn points when you get a car wash. AND…if you pay with the app, you earn 5 cents per gallon in points and it goes up from there, depending on if you go premium status.
Kroger – or, in our case, Baker’s has a great fuel rewards program that I personally can use here in Nebraska and when I go home to Georgia to visit family. When you shop at Baker’s (Kroger’s), for every $1 that you spend using your Baker’s Plus card, you get one fuel point. And, if you purchase gift cards and prepaid cell/wireless cards, you get 2X the points. So, if you’re going to give gift cards for Christmas, birthdays, etc, get purchase them at one of these locations and watch the points add up!
QT – I absolutely love QuikTrip! They have some of the cleanest gas stations, the food is pretty good and I love their coffee! Too bad their rewards program is good only in Wichita 🙁 Now you’re probably wondering why did I include it. To be honest, I’m hopeful! I’ve become friends with several of the managers with our local QT (we have eight within 10 miles) and it sounds like the higher-ups actually do listen to the boots on the ground and that gives me comfort and hope. However, they do offer rewards for those who have the QT credit card. I have not done this, as I am in a debt reduction program right now. But, I imagine that it would work well, provided you pay it off ASAP and don’t let the debt linger.
Carpool When Possible
Carpooling is a great way to save money on more than gas. It’s a way to also cut down on maintenance for your own car, thus prolonging the life of your own vehicle. It’s also less stress for you (don’t know about the person driving, though).
Carpooling is a great cost-saving measure; but, here’s a tip, though…personally, if I carpool with someone a couple of times a week, I like to give a couple of dollars or treat them to lunch or something. Or, perhaps you can take turns carpooling and return the favor.
You can drive less by:
- Walking – especially on those beautiful day when it’s not too hot or cold and it’s not raining. We are surrounded by walking trails and try to utilize them as much as possible – especially since our shopping centers are one mile away.
- Take public transit if available – probably the most popular way to save money on gas. We have limited public transit where I live. But some places (Atlanta for example) have HUGE public transit. I hung out in Atlanta for a week this past July and that’s all that I used. I purchased a 7-day Marta pass for about $24 and used that for the bus and rail system. Busses and trains don’t always drop you off exactly where you want to go so I hoofed it the rest of the way. I got a lot of exercise that week, too! Not to mention all of the free entertainment that usually comes with mass transit 🙂
- Plan your trips – my family plans trips constantly!
- Ride your bike – save money and exercise at the same time. This is a win-win in my book.
Buy Gas During non-Peak Times
Honestly, I had no idea that there was a best day/time to purchase or not purchase gas. Apparently there is. According to USA Today, Monday is the best day to fill up and in the early morning hours. They say that Friday is the worst time – which, thinking about it makes sense from the perspective of everyone is preparing for the weekend (getaways, out of town visits, etc)
Don’t Fill Up Next to Highways
I never thought about this until about a year or so ago. While traveling I would, of course, stop to fill up for gas. Sometimes I would stop at the station right off of the highway. Sometimes it was also a gas station that I was not familiar with (I didn’t recognize the name, or something).
I would see the highway sign showing a Shell or Exxon station two or three miles down the road. The prices of the gas was usually less if I drove the extra two miles. It did not seem like too much of a difference, however…it was usually about five cents less or so. From what I read at the Orlando Sentinel site, their explanation for the higher gas price is that the real estate closest to the highway is more expensive. I dig it!
Drive a Manual Transmission
This is fun! Before I purchased my Chrysler Pacifica (a 2004 named Becky) I used to drive a 2002 Toyota Celica with a HUGE spoiler hanging off the back (his name was Lazarus, by the way). The 6 speed manual served me very well when it came to saving money on gas. I am not sure about how the whole high gear/low gear thing works exactly; but, it does (if done correctly) and I miss it.
Buy a More Fuel-efficient Car
Here we go – get a more fuel-efficient car. This may mean something different to you. This does not necessarily mean to go running out and drop $40,000 on a new car so you can get an extra few miles per gallon. It’s a amazing what you can find on the used car lot these days – just make sure you know what to look for when purchasing a car (especially a used one).
Check out Consumer Reports – they have a very good article on the most fuel efficient cars.
Draw Your Own Conclusions
These are just a few tips on how to save money on gas. Do you have any other tips you’d like to add? If so, feel free to leave them in the comment section below! My intention is to update these posts at a later date with more ideas.
Thanks and happy saving in 2020!