The repeated, expensive task of filling up your car with gas is a grin-and-bear-it kind of experience. Especially as gas prices go through the roof and filling up becomes more painful.
We all want fuel prices to drop back down to a reasonable number ($2 a gallon, anyone?), but in the meantime, fight unleaded sticker shock with these 12 tricks.
1. Save $0.63 a gallon by skipping premium gas (if you can).
In many cars today, the octane level of the fuel you put into it makes no difference in your fuel economy. So if your vehicle doesn’t require it, skip the overpriced premium.
Ditching premium gas in favor of regular could mean a savings of around $0.63 per gallon, according to figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Just think: If your car gets 30 miles to the gallon and you drive 14,000 miles in a year, you could save about $300 per year by going with regular gas.
2. Get away from the highway and save on a fill-up.
Gas stations located conveniently near highway exits have been known to set their fuel prices higher than stations that are a little farther out.
Driving just a quarter-mile farther could mean you’ll be saving money on gas. And the bathrooms are probably better, too.
3. Choose gas stations in the suburbs, not downtown.
First of all, if you’re driving into a downtown area, it can be tough to even find a gas station!
But if you do find one, it can cost you a lot more per gallon to fill up at a downtown station compared to one in the suburbs. For example, gas in Manhattan can be $1.50 more per gallon than in the suburbs!
Gas stations’ prices are changing all the time, and the place with the lowest gas prices last week might not be the winner this week. These popular apps monitor gas stations and the cost of gas like The Krazy Coupon Lady app monitors your favorite stores.
An added perk with GasBuddy is that you can pay for gas with their free gas card and save up to $0.25 a gallon by unlocking special deals.
5. Earn $0.25 per gallon with GetUpside’s secret discounts.
The free GetUpside app strikes deals with individual gas stations to give you special discounts.
Find a participating station with the app, and take a photo of your fuel receipt to get up to $0.25 per gallon back in cash, redeemable by PayPal, e-gift card or bank transfer. Even better, use coupon code KCL20 to save an additional $0.20 per gallon on your first fill-up.
6. Fill up at a station that’s not too busy so you get cooler, denser gas.
Cooler, denser gasoline performs better than hotter gas, so try to fill up at a less-busy, mom-and-pop station. The gas stays in the underground tank longer and has time to cool down.
And in case you’re wondering, filling up in colder temperatures won’t provide the same benefits, because the fuel in the tank is well insulated against the weather.
7. Don’t buy gas on Thursdays (or the weekends) — period.
Straight-up avoid getting gas on Thursdays and the weekends. According to an article from GasBuddy, the most expensive day for buying gas in 2021 was Thursday, and in 2019 it was Saturday.
8. Sign up for a fuel points program at your favorite grocery store and save up to $1 a gallon.
At Kroger, you earn one fuel point for every dollar you spend there. Earn 100 points, it’s $0.10 off per gallon. Earn 1,000 and it’s $1 off per gallon!
Plenty of stores have these programs. Check out our list of the Top 10 Fuel Loyalty Programs You Must Join, pick one, and stick with it!
9. Buy gift cards at Shell; every $50 spent saves $0.05 per gallon.
If you’re signed up with Shell’s free Fuel Rewards program, you can earn $0.05 off per gallon for every $50 you spend on gift cards there.
You’d save $1 filling up your Honda Pilot with just one $50 gift card purchase you’d be making anyway!
10. Buy discounted gas gift cards from Gift Card Granny and Raise and save up to 40%.
It’s easy to find a $100 Shell gift card for just $96 at Gift Card Granny. Free $4 in gas? It all helps.
11. Get cash back from fill-ups with a fuel rewards credit card.
Sure, it’s nice to see $0.10 knocked off each gallon every time you gas up, but the steep interest rates of gas station-branded credit cards make them not worth the instant gratification.
Instead, check out the many fuel rewards credit cards that give you cash back on gas purchases, such as the Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card. It earns 3% cash back on fuel purchases every quarter (up to $2,500).
12. Make sure your car is well maintained; you’ll use less gas.
If your SUV hasn’t had an oil change in two years — or a tune-up, like, ever — chances are, it’s guzzling gas more than it probably needs to.
Making sure your car gets regular tune-ups can improve your gas mileage by as much as 4%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Properly inflated tires? A boost of 3%. Keep your oil changed, too. That turns into gas savings.