The repeated, expensive task of filling up the car with gasoline is a grin-and-bear-it kind of experience.
We all want gas prices to drop back down below $2 a gallon, but in the meantime you can fight unleaded sticker shock with these 12 tweaks:
1. Save $200 a year by skipping Premium gas.
In most cars today, octane level makes no difference in fuel economy. So skip the overpriced Premium and save $209 a year driving a 30 mpg car, up to $418 with a 15 mpg car.
2. Get away from the highway and save $4 on a fill-up.
Gas stations conveniently near highway exits set their prices at least 20 cents over stations that are a little farther out.
Just a quarter-mile drive can save you $4 on a fill-up. And the bathrooms are probably better, too.
3. You’ll pay $1 more per gallon downtown, so stay away.
If you’re driving into the inner city, first of all, it can be tough to even find a gas station!
But if you find one, it can cost nearly a dollar more than in the suburbs.
Stations’ prices are changing all the time, and the cheapest place last week might not be the winner this week. These apps watch the stations like ours watches retailers.
GasBuddy can save you $340 a year when you use their app and pay for gas with their free discount card.
5. GetUpside‘s secret discounts can earn you $0.25 per gallon.
The free GetUpside app strikes deals with individual gas stations to give you secret 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 or check. Even better, use coupon code KCL20 to save an additional $0.20 per gallon off your first fill up.
6. Cool gas means more gas; fill up at a station that’s not too busy.
Cooler, denser gasoline performs better than hotter gas, but filling up in colder temperatures doesn’t help, because the fuel is well insulated against the weather.
Go to a less-busy, mom-and-pop station. The gas stays in the underground tank longer and has time to cool down.
7. Don’t buy gas on Thursdays (or the weekends) — period.
If every driver in the U.S. only filled up on Thursdays, together they’d spend more than $1.1 billion more than if they’d only filled up on Mondays.
Avoid Thursdays and the weekends.
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 gas 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 Top 10 fuel loyalty programs list, pick one, and stick with it!
9. Buy gift cards at Shell; every $50 spent saves $0.05 off 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 per gallon every time you gas up, but the steep interest rates of 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 minivan 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.
Tune-ups can improve your miles per gallon by 4%. Properly inflated tires? 3%. Keep your oil changed, too. That turns into gas savings.