Locating free and cheap gas for your car is similar to couponing in that you’ll see small increments of dollars saved that add up to a huge amount over time when you stick with it. It doesn’t always feel like earth-shattering savings when you start, though. It’s keeping with it that yields that big pay-off we see in our monthly budgets. Speaking of which, you’ll also want to learn how to coupon to cut your grocery bill in half.
As for fuel, some of the best savings options are joining a gas rewards program, finding a gas credit card, or cashing in on some warehouse club gas savings at places like Sam’s Club. I’ll get into the details here!
Oh, and if you’re looking to save money on all the things you’re already buying, download the KCL app and I’ll text you about the hottest deals. You can select the categories and stores you want to see deals from.
How to Get Free Gas
I’m not going to sugarcoat it. Totally free gas is difficult to come by and impossible unless you meet certain criteria based on your income. That said, here are a few things to look into if you qualify for government aid:
1. Low-income families can qualify for cash assistance to use on fuel.
Check with your state’s Department of Health and Welfare to see what programs you qualify for. In addition to support with groceries (SNAP, WIC) and health care (Medicaid), you might meet the threshold for cash assistance, which you can use to buy fuel.
2. Use the Relief Benefits online tool to see if you qualify for free gas options.
Relief Benefits is a company that connects U.S. citizens with benefits they might qualify for. Benefits are need-based.
3. Check with local churches or Catholic Charities to see if they offer gas vouchers.
As a last resort for free gas, you might consider checking in with churches in your community or Catholic Charities who have been known to give gas vouchers to low-income families.
How to Get Cheap Gas
4. Save $0.65 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 $0.65 per gallon, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration figures. Just think: if your car has a 15-gallon tank, gets 30 miles to the gallon, and you drive 14,000 miles in a year, you could save about $292 per year by going with regular gas.
TIP: If your car really does require premium gas (and you live in Florida), check if your local Circle K gas station participates in “Premium Fuel Thursday.” You’ll automatically save $0.20 per gallon on premium fuel when you fill up on a Thursday.
5. Get away from the highway and you’ll see lower gas prices.
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.
6. 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.
And then when you do, it might cost you a whole heck of a lot more. For example, gas in Manhattan can be $1.50 more per gallon than in the suburbs!
TIP: We compared prices at the major warehouse club gas pumps and found that you can save around $0.21 per gallon if you get your gas at Sam’s Club compared to non-warehouse pumps.
7. Find the best gas prices near you with apps like GasBuddy and Gas Guru.
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. But luckily, apps like GasBuddy (iOS / Android) and Gas Guru (iOS / Android) can help you find cheap gas.
These popular apps monitor prices at the pump. It’s similar to how 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.
8. Earn $0.25 per gallon with Upside secret discounts.
The free Upside 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. You can also “check in” on the app to automatically submit your receipt. Then you’ll get up to $0.25 per gallon back in cash, redeemable by PayPal, e-gift card, or bank transfer.
9. 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.
This isn’t weather dependent though. The tanks are well insulated, so it has less to do with the outside temperature than it does the frequency of use each tank receives.
10. Don’t buy gas on Thursdays — period.
Want to save on gas prices? Straight up, avoid getting gas on Thursdays. According to an article from GasBuddy, the most expensive day for buying gas in 2021 turned out to be Thursday, with Monday being the best to fill up and Sunday the best for topping off.
11. 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 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!
12. Earn 4X fuel points with any Kroger Wireless phone/plan.
In addition to earning fuel points buying groceries and gift cards at Kroger, you can earn 4X fuel points with any Kroger Wireless phone/plan. They have monthly and annual plans for as low as $15 (earns 60 fuel points) a month.
13. Sign up for Shell Fuel Rewards and save a minimum of $0.05 a gallon.
When you sign up with Shell’s free Fuel Rewards program, you instantly become a gold status member for six months, meaning you’ll earn $0.05 off per gallon compared to $0.03 off (Silver status). Plus you can earn more savings when you shop through the Shell Fuel Point portal. For example:
- Dining: Earn $0.10 per gallon for every $50 at participating restaurants with a linked credit card (in your Shell Fuel Rewards account).
- Online Shopping: Earn a minimum of $0.05 a gallon for every $50 you spend shopping online.
- Event Tickets: Earn $0.10 per gallon for every $50 spent on live event tickets.
- Rental Cars: Save up to 25% on base rates and earn $0.10 a gallon for every $50 you spend.
The best part of Shell’s Fuel Rewards program compared to others (looking at you, Kroger) is that there’s no maximum amount of fuel rewards you can redeem per gallon. They do, however, only apply the rewards to the first 20 gallons. So if you have $1.50 in rewards and elect to use it all at once when at the pump, you’ll save $1.50 on your first 20 gallons (which can be a full tank of gas for some car models), for $30 in savings!
Related: Check out these other gas credit cards that’ll save you money at the pump.
14. Join Chevron Rewards and get $1 off/gal on your first three visits.
Sign up for Chevron Rewards online or download the Chevron app and register. You’ll instantly get $1 off/gal on your first three visits. Plus, you can use 1,000 points right away. This offer is available for all new rewards members.
Buy discounted gas gift cards from Gift Card Granny or Raise and save a buck.
Unfortunately, discount gas cards are pretty rare; they don’t last long once posted. A while back, I found a $100 Shell gift card at Gift Card Granny, with $1 cash back. I know it isn’t much, but any little bit helps.
15. Pay with a fuel rewards credit card to get cash back when you fill up.
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 might put a damper on that otherwise 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. You can earn 3% cash back on fuel purchases every quarter (up to $2,500).
16. Make sure your car is well maintained; you’ll use less gas.
If your SUV hasn’t had an oil change in two years, 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.