Looking for ways to save money on gas? Over the last few years we have seen some pretty big hikes in gas prices. For many of us, gas is one of our biggest expenditures and the amount of the family budget spent on fuel each month has an effect on the rest of our finances.
If you’re trying hard to stay on a fixed budget, the fluctuating gas prices can make it very difficult. Where does the extra money come from, when fuel prices rise?
The good news is, there are ways to save money on gas. Some tips are simple, while others require a small amount of planning.
The payoff is well worth it – just try to develop these habits in every day life and you will see it makes a difference.
Tips to Save Money on Gas
Always Compare Gas Prices to Save Money on Gas
Try not to fill up your car without looking at how much you are paying. Remember where the cheapest gas is so you can try to return there when possible.
If you travel about a lot and buy gas in many different towns, it may be worth keeping a notebook in your glove compartment with some of the cheapest places to buy gas (and the ones to avoid).
There are now plenty of apps that can tell you the cheapest place for gas in the location you are in. The good thing about using an app rather than your own list is that it stays up to date when prices change.
Use gasbuddy.com or other apps – they can even give you alerts to your phone when gas prices get lowered or raised.
What Day of the Week is Gas Cheaper?
Don’t kid yourself – there ARE standard days when gas is cheaper at the pump. Start paying attention because this can save you a lot of money.
In my area, gas prices always go up late in the day Thursday. And they drop in price on Mondays. Is it like this where you live too? Keep a record of daily gas prices and double check.
I fill up on Tuesdays here – it is one of the cheaper days. Getting into the habit of filling your tank once (or twice) a week on certain days can save money. Try it; you may be surprised.
Keep your Gas Tank Fuller
Once you have worked out the cheapest places to buy gas, try to buy from one of these gas stations rather than waiting until you run out. The chances of getting to the bottom of your tank as you approach the cheapest gas place in town are slim.
It’s better to fill it up a bit when you still have a quarter of a tank from somewhere that charges you less money. There are no economies of scale with gas, so little and often is better.
Plan Your Journey
With gas prices so high, it’s frustrating to waste your precious fuel unnecessarily. If you are going somewhere new, plan your journey meticulously to ensure you don’t waste gas.
Check the route your GPS gives to be sure you are being directed by the closest route.
Travel Light to Save Money on Gas
Having a heavy load in your car will eat up the gas. When you return from holiday, make sure you empty everything so you don’t end up carting half your camping gear to work and back the following week.
Gas is heavy so a full tank will weigh you down too. Other ways to drive more efficiently include removing roof racks (if you never use them), keeping your speed consistent and keeping tires pumped up.
Join a Gas Reward Program
Many credit cards have a gas reward program. Either you can earn points on any gas (or other qualifying purchase) you buy or you can get free fuel depending on how many points you have. Sometimes, you can get both.
It pays to look into one of these programs. Using one credit card for all necessary purchases (fuel, groceries) can save you hundreds of dollars IF that card offers a reward program. As always, just be sure to pay the entire balance off every month.
Share Trips to Save Money on Gas
Remember you are not the only person looking to save money. It’s likely that someone you know will be driving a similar route to you each day.
If you can take it in turns to give each other a lift, it can make some serious savings. An added bonus is that with two people in the car, you can use HOV lanes. This will save you time and money idling in heavy traffic on the freeway.
Ride sharing will entail being more flexible about when you leave and return each day, but it’s worth it to spend half the money on gas each week.
Personal safety is important when car sharing, however and you should only do it with someone you know and trust.
Any of these tips will save you money, but if you can apply all of them, you will start to make some noticeable savings fast. From car sharing to keeping tires pumped up and staying on top of gas prices, there are lots of ways to help you save hundreds of dollars each year.
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