According to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the current national average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.42 — that's up about 40 cents since January! Unless you take the bus or own an electric car, you have to pay for gas no matter how much it costs. But don't lose hope — there are lots of ways that you can score fuel for free! Try these five tips to help take some of the sting out of that all-too-frequent trip to the pump!
1. Be a moving billboard
You've probably seen a car with advertisements plastered all over it in the lane beside you during rush hour. But did you know that cars like these actually get free gas in exchange for the advertisements? Sites like FreeGasHelp will pay between $5 and $200 in gas cards every month (gas cards come within two to four weeks after your vehicle has been verified) if you allow your car to be used as a traveling billboard. After you apply on their website, you will be connected with an advertiser. You typically start out with just a small decal, but you can eventually move up to a full car wrap if interested. So what are the qualifications? You must drive at least 1,000 miles a month, own a cosmetically sound vehicle, have a valid license and carry up-to-date auto insurance.
2. MyPoints rewards
My Points is a program that offers rewards (like gas cards!) for doing things you probably already do: shopping, reading emails, and doing web searches! Membership is free, and it only takes a couple of minutes to sign up. Once you register, you can earn points by printing coupons from their website, referring your friends, downloading their tool bar (which gives you points each time you use it), taking surveys, and playing instant win games. Once you accumulate 1,750 points (this took me a few months), you can cash your points in for a $10 Shell gift card. 3,950 points can get you a $25 BP or Shell gas card. It takes between two and six weeks to receive your gift card in the mail.
3. Travel rebate rewards
Lots of hotels and bed & breakfasts offer free gas cards when you book a stay. For example, the Super 8 in Modesto, CA is currently offering a $25 gas card when you stay at their hotel. Not staying in Modesto? Check out Best Western's rewards program. You can score a $25 Shell or Exxon/Mobil gas card (when you accumulate 6500 points) by staying at their hotels or participating in their partner offers. Is a bed & breakfast more your taste? Check here to find a bed & breakfast that offer gas incentives.
4. Take surveys
In exchange for signing up and taking surveys about various topics (which range anywhere from healthcare to toothpaste reviews), many market research companies will allow you to cash in your survey points for gas cards. For example, when you earn 34,650 points (this took me a couple of months of doing surveys almost daily) on MyView, you can choose a $25 Shell gift card, which then comes in the mail in four to six weeks. I've also scored free gas cards on Survey Spot and MySurvey.
5. Open a bank account or participate in bank special offers
Some banks and credit unions offer free gas cards when you open a new checking account or enroll in a special service with them. For example, U.S. Bank is currently offering cash back if you apply for a Business Cash Bonus Check Card with a business checking account or a U.S. Bank Cash Bonus Check Card with a checking account. After you link the new account to a Speedpass key tag and spend $50 at Exxon and Mobil stations, you will earn $50 back!