Did you know that the average American household spends upwards of $5,000 on gasoline every year? Crazy, right? If you’re like most people, you’re always looking for ways to save money. In this economy, it’s more important than ever to pinch your pennies. And one area where many of us can save is by cutting down on those crazy gasoline expenses.
This article is going to cover the ins and outs of gas including ways to save some money and what you could do with all that extra cash!
Regular Gas vs. Premium Gas
When it comes to gas, there are two main types: regular and premium. Regular gas is the most common type and is typically less expensive than premium gas. It’s suitable for most cars, although some may require premium gas.
Premium gas is higher octane than regular gas and helps to prevent knocking, which can damage your engine. If your car’s manufacturer recommends using premium gas, then it’s best to follow their recommendation. However, if you’re unsure which type of gas to use, you can always consult your car’s owner’s manual or ask a trained mechanic.
How to Save Money on Gas
You’re probably wasting a lot more gas than you think. Even if you’re driving a fuel-efficient car, there are ways to maximize your mileage and save money. Let’s take a look at 16 steps to get a little extra cash in your pocket!
1. Pay with cash instead of a card
When you use a credit or debit card, the station charges a fee for the transaction and though it’s not much, it can really add up if you’re filling up your tank. If you pay with cash, you won’t have to worry about this fee, and you’ll save money in the long run. Many gas stations also offer discounts for cash payments, so you may be able to save even more.
2. Use a gas rewards card
Whether you’re paying with cash or a card, be sure to take advantage of any loyalty programs that the station offers. These programs can give you significant discounts on gas, and they’re usually free to join.
By signing up for a rewards card, you can earn points or cash back on every gallon of gas you purchase, and they can quickly add up to significant savings. Many gas reward cards also offer additional bonuses, such as discounts on car maintenance or free roadside assistance. And if you’re worried about paying too much interest, many of these cards come with 0% APR offers for the first year or more. So if you’re serious about saving money at the pump, a gas rewards credit card is a great option to consider.
3. Join a grocery store rewards program
Many grocery stores offer gas discounts as part of their rewards programs, so you can save money just by doing your regular grocery shopping.
In addition, many stores offer bonus points or cash back when you use their gas stations, so it’s worth checking to see what your local store offers. By taking advantage of these programs, you can easily save a few dollars each time you fill up your tank. Plus, it’s one less thing to worry about when you’re already dealing with the stress of everyday life.
4. Fill up on the cheapest days of the week
One of the easiest ways to save on gas is to fill up on the cheapest days of the week. Typically, gas prices are lowest on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so if you can fill up on one of those days, you’ll be sure to get the best deal.
Of course, life is busy; you’ve got places to be, people to see and it’s not always possible to fill up on those days, so another great tip is to watch for gas station sales and coupons. Often, gas stations will offer discounts on fuel if you purchase a certain amount or use a particular credit card.
5. Find the best price with a gas app
Gas apps are a thing and they’re wonderful! These easy-to-use apps are designed to help you find the cheapest gas prices in your area so that you can fill up for less. And with gas prices constantly fluctuating, it’s always a good idea to check the app before you head to the pump.
6. Drive patiently
Many people think that they can save money by speeding up and driving to their destination as quickly as possible, but this actually wastes more gas. When you accelerate quickly, your engine has to work harder, using more fuel.
In addition, speeding and tailgating use more gas than driving at a steady pace. Studies have shown that driving 5 miles per hour over the speed limit can result in a decrease in fuel efficiency of up to 7%. So if you want to save money on gas, the best thing to do is slow down and enjoy the ride.
7. Spend less time idling
When you leave your car running while parked, you’re wasting fuel and money. And if you’re sitting in traffic, it’s even worse, your car is basically running in place, which isn’t very efficient. So next time you’re waiting for someone or pulled over to make a phone call, turn off your engine. It may only save you a few cents each time, but it can add up over time! Plus, it’s good for the environment too.
8. Plan out your routes
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s amazing how many people just get in the car and start driving without any real plan in mind. Not only can this lead to higher gas consumption, but it will also add to your stress levels if you’re driving somewhere new and unfamiliar.
By taking a few minutes to map out your route before you get in the car, you can avoid getting lost and wasting gas. In addition, try to consolidate your errands into one trip instead of making several smaller trips. This will help you to save both time and money. With a little planning, you can easily reduce your fuel costs without making any major changes to your lifestyle.
9. Share rides
If you live close to work or school, consider biking or walking instead of driving. If you live a little too far away, carpooling is a great option and not only cuts down on the number of vehicles on the road but also reduces the amount of gas each person has to buy.
10. Know when to use cruise control
Cruise control can be a great way to save money on gas, but it’s important to know when to use it. Generally speaking, cruise control is most efficient when driving on the highway at a consistent speed. That’s because it can help your car to maintain a steady speed, which requires less fuel.
However, there are some situations where cruise control is not ideal. For example, if you’re driving in stop-and-go traffic or in bad weather, you’ll likely be better off without it. And of course, you should always use your own judgment when deciding whether or not to use cruise control. If you’re feeling tired or unfocused, it’s probably best to turn it off. But if you’re confident in your ability to pay attention to the road, cruise control can definitely help you save money on gas.
11. Reduce AC use
As anyone who’s ever driven in the summer knows, turning on the AC can be a quick way to send your gas bill skyrocketing. In fact, according to the Department of Energy, air conditioning can account for up to 30% of a car’s fuel consumption. So if you’re looking to save money on gas, one of the best things you can do is reduce your AC use.
12. Park in the right spot
One simple way to save money on gas is to park in the right spot. If you’re going to be parked for a while, try to find a spot that’s in the shade. The sun can heat up your car, which makes the engine work harder and use more gas when you start driving.
Also, try to park on level ground if possible. If you have to park on a slope, choose one that’s facing downhill so you won’t have to use as much gas to get going. And if you’re going to be parked overnight, make sure to turn off your engine so you don’t waste any gas while you’re not moving.
13. Remove excess vehicle weight
What many drivers don’t realize is that the weight of their vehicle can have a significant impact on gas mileage. The more weight your car has to carry, the more fuel it will consume. So if you’re looking to save money on gas, one of the best things you can do is remove any excess weight from your vehicle.
This might mean taking out any unnecessary items from your trunk or backseat or even removing unused roof racks or bicycle carriers. Every little bit helps, and over time you’ll see a real difference in your gas bill.
14. Check your tires routinely
When tires are low on air, they create more resistance as you drive, which causes your engine to work harder and use more fuel. In addition, under-inflated tires can cause premature wear, leading to a need for replacements sooner than necessary.
Fortunately, checking tire pressure is quick and easy to do, and it can make a big difference in your gas mileage. Most gas stations have air pumps that you can use for free, and many car manufacturers include tire pressure monitors that will alert you when your tires need more air.
15. Keep your engine in good shape
A well-maintained engine will run more efficiently, resulting in better gas mileage. There are a few simple things you can do to keep your engine running smoothly.
First, make sure you regularly check and change your engine oil. This will help to remove any dirt or debris that could clog up your engine.
Second, be sure to check your air filter and replace it if it’s dirty. A clean air filter will help your engine to breathe more easily, improving its efficiency.
Finally, make sure to keep your tires properly inflated. This will reduce drag and improve gas mileage.
16. Skip the premium option
When it comes to filling up the old tank, there’s no need to shell out for premium unleaded. In fact, most experts agree that using the mid-grade option is just as good for your car–and your wallet.
Here’s why: premium gas contains a higher octane level than regular unleaded, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better for your engine. In fact, unless your car is specifically designed to run on premium gas, you’re likely just wasting your money. The higher octane level can actually cause damage to engines that aren’t designed for it, leading to costly repairs down the road.
What to do with the money you save on gas
Now that you know how to save money at the pump, it’s time to figure out what you should do with that wealth of extra pennies in your pocket!
While this isn’t the most exciting way to utilize newly saved money, it’s definitely one of the most practical. With constantly fluctuating gas prices, you never know when you’ll need to shell out a little extra at the pump. By squirreling away your savings, you’ll be prepared for anything.
Pay off debt
If you’re struggling with debt, using your extra cash to make a dent in what you owe is a great idea. Not only will this save you money in the long run (by avoiding interest charges), but it will also give you some much-needed peace of mind.
Save even more
Once you’ve gotten the hang of saving money on gas, you can start saving in other aspects of your life! Why not put your newfound frugality to good use and start working towards your financial goals? Cut back on takeout coffee, start packing your lunch, and watch your savings grow.
If you’re looking to make your money work a little harder, investing is a great option. You can start small by opening a high-yield savings account or investing in a low-cost index fund. Or, if you’re feeling brave, you could even try your hand at stock picking.
If you’re not sure what to do with your extra cash, why not create a budget? This way, you can allocate your money towards different goals, like saving for a rainy day or taking a much-needed vacation.
No matter what you decide to do with your newfound wealth, remember that saving money on gas is just one small step in the journey to financial freedom. So keep up the good work and pretty soon, you’ll be on your way to reaching your financial goals.
The Bottom Line
Saving money on gas doesn’t have to be difficult–there are a few simple things you can do to cut costs. Whether you choose to ditch the premium or carpool with a work buddy, you have plenty of options when it comes to saving. So put these tips into practice and start reaping the benefits at the pump.