While filling up at the gas pump, you watch the counter flip past $40, then $50, and then it keeps going. It’s a frustrating experience realizing how much a tank of gas costs today compared to just a year ago. Not only are gas prices at a sky-high price right now, but driving in the U.S. has greatly increased over the years. In 2021, Americans drove 3.23 trillion miles–an increase of 11.2% from the 2.9 trillion miles driven in 2020–which equates to more than 6 million rountrips to the moon.
Between the price of gas weighing heavily on American wallets and an increase in miles being driven, it’s important to know the ways you can save on gas each time you fill up. We’ve compiled a list of the best strategies so that you can reduce your gas costs per gallon and spare yourself some extra change.
10 Easy Ways to Saving Money on Gas
Use an app to track gas prices, and find the cheapest station
If you don’t want to waste any fuel driving around to find the cheapest priced station, then you should consider downloading a gas app that compares gas prices for you based on your location. GasBuddy is one of the most popular apps that provides real time gas prices to you. The navigation apps, Waze and Google Maps, both feature gas prices as well by selecting a gas station as your destination and then you’re about to filter them by price.
Join a fuel rewards program or use a gas credit card
The majority of major gas station chains and some grocery chains offer fuel rewards programs that are usually free to join and help increase your customer loyalty. Signing up is simple and can save you money per gallon. Chains such as Shell, ExxonMobil and Wawa offer programs to save. Opening up a gas rewards credit card may also allow you to get cash back on gas.
Skip the premium option for saving money on gas
Premium gas may cost anywhere from 20 to 80 cents more per gallon than regular-grade fuel. Plus, higher-octane gas isn’t beneficial to or necessary in most cars, so you’re essentially just spending more money when you opt for premium. Use regular-grade gas unless it’s required by your car manufacturer to use premium.
Fill up on the cheapest weekday
Pricing trends have revealed that gas is cheaper on some particular days of the week. According to GasBuddy, Monday and Tuesday are the cheapest days to fill up, with gas prices increasing over the week till you reach the most expensive days–Friday and Saturday. This recommendation is based on national data trends from the past few years. So with prices as expensive as they have been lately, these days might not always be the cheapest. We suggest using your best judgment and what works best for your and your schedule.
Drive patiently and not fueled by anger
Driving impatiently or erratically can lead to excessive fuel consumption. Unnecessary speeding causes your vehicle to use more gas at a quicker rate. The same goes for rapid acceleration and hard braking. Accelerating slowly and braking with enough time to stop are not only safer ways to drive but they are also cost-efficient habits. Aggressive driving can lower your gas mileage anywhere from 10% to 40%.
Avoid excessive idling
Turning off your engine when you’re waiting in a long line, are stationary in a parking spot, or when you’re setting up your navigation can help reduce the amount of gas you use. Idling wastes gas and contributes to more air pollution.
Remove any excess weight from your vehicle
The heavier your vehicle, the more gas it consumes. If you have removable items sitting in your back seat or trunk, take them out of your vehicle when you’re not specifically using them. Fuel efficiency decreases by 1% for every 100 pounds of excess weight.
Pay with cash instead of a card
The lowest price you see on gas station billboards is typically the cash-only price. You can save anywhere from 5 to 10 cents per gallon, and in some cases, much more. Paying cash is cheaper because the gas station avoids the fees they get charged by banks and credit card providers for each transaction.
Plan routes for saving money on gas
Taking the time to plan your shopping trips and outings is an efficient way to reduce your drive time and the amount of gas you use as a result. Do all your errands in one day opposed to across several days and different trips. Consider if there are stores in close proximity so you’re not driving all across town. Also trying to avoid rush-hour traffic can help reduce your time spent driving.
Carpool with friend or colleagues
Carpooling can reduce your fuel costs greatly. Take turns driving with co-workers you live near and have similar schedules with. Rotate through driving duties with friends, neighbors, or family members.