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The repeated, expensive task of filling your car with gas is a grin-and-bear-it kind of experience. Especially as gas prices continue to go through the roof and filling up becomes more painful. Unfortunately, paying extra at the pump puts pressure on our already strained household budgets.

You could join a gas rewards program or find a gas credit card to try spend less money on gas. In the meantime, fight unleaded sticker shock with these 12 tricks.

 

1. Save $0.63 a gallon by skipping premium gas (if you can).

A person's hand holding a gas pump nozzle and choosing their type of gas at a Shell gas station.

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 U.S. Energy Information Administration figures. 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.

Related: How to Save at the Pump With Costco Gas

 

2. Get away from the highway and you’ll see lower gas prices.

A Sinclair gas pump at a Sinclair gas station.

Gas stations located conveniently near highway exits have been known to set their fuel prices higher than stations a little farther out.

Driving just a quarter mile farther could mean you’ll save gas money. 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!

 

4. Find the best gas prices near you with apps like GasBuddy and Gas Guru.

A person sitting in their car, holding up a cell phone displaying the Gas Buddy app

Apps like GasBuddy (iOS / Android) and Gas Guru (iOS / Android) can help you find cheap gas. So if you don’t have one of those apps downloaded on your phone, you’re gonna want to fix that right now.

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 sale prices at 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 Upside secret discounts.

person at gas pump with phone displaying upside app

The free Upside app strikes deals with individual gas stations to give you special discounts.

Find a participating station with the app, take a photo of your fuel receipt (or “check in” on the app to automatically submit your receipt) and 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.

A Shell gas station pump next to an empty parking lot.

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 when it’s cold outside doesn’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.

Want to save on gas prices? 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 turned out to be Thursday, and in 2019 it was Saturday for many states.

 

8. Sign up for a fuel points program at your favorite grocery store and save up to $1 a gallon.

A sign inside Kroger advertising 3x fuel points on Floral, Produce, or Meat & Seafood.

At Kroger, you earn one fuel point for every dollar you spend there. Earn 100 points to get $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. Sign up for Shell Fuel Rewards and save $0.05 a gallon.

A person's hand holding up a cell phone displaying the Shell Rewards app in front of a Shell gas station

If you’re signed up with Shell’s free Fuel Rewards program, you can earn $0.05 off per gallon for every fill-up.

Related: Don’t have a Shell station near you? Check out these other gas credit cards that’ll save you money at the pump.

 

10. Buy discounted gas gift cards from Gift Card Granny or Raise and save a buck.

A person holding their phone displaying the Raise discount gift card app in front of a gas pump.

I love sharing about discounted gift cards. With sites like Gift Card Granny and Raise, you can buy gift cards for less than their face value. Instant sale!

For a $100 Shell gift card at Gift Card Granny, you earn $1. I know it isn’t much, but it all helps.

 

11. Get cash back from fill-ups with a fuel rewards credit card.

A person's hand inserting a credit card into the card reader at a Shell gas station pump.

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.

A person checking their car's oil dipstick under the hood.

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.

 

12 Money-Saving Tricks to Make Gas Prices Less Painful