Whether you’re headed off on a road trip to celebrate the summer or you just want to cut back on your commuting expenses, saving money on gas is a great way to keep the green in your pocket where it belongs.
One option is to buy gas on the weekend when prices are shown to take a slight dip. But for busy daily commuters this isn’t a viable option. Instead of organizing your week around the pump prices, why not follow these 8 vital ways to save on gas every day of the year.
Use A Good Rewards Credit Card
If you can pay your credit card bill every month in full, there’s nothing bad with using a credit card to your advantage. By using a rewards credit card to fill up your tank you can rack up the rewards points. Then you can reap the rewards in the form of a gift card to your favorite store, a check or a statement credit.
The best credit card for gas is the Chase Freedom card which gives you 5% cash back on gas purchases for one quarter per year, then 1% the other quarters. Another good one is the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express. This one gives you 3% cash back on gas year round but the card does have a $75 yearly fee.
Fill Up Your Tank Before You Reach Empty
There’s a few reasons why you never want to let your car get close to empty. First, there’s the risk of a mechanical problem. According to Consumer Reports:
The gasoline acts like a coolant for the electric fuel-pump motor, so when you run very low, this allows the pump to suck in air, which creates heat and can cause the fuel pump to wear prematurely and potentially fail. The repair could end up costing a couple hundred dollars to fix.
Second, you can never be too sure how long you can drive on a tank that’s almost empty. Cut it too close and you’ll run the risk of being stranded in the middle of nowhere.
Finally, if you wait until the last minute to get gas, you’ll be forced to go to the nearest station, regardless of the price.
Get into a routine of filling your car on a certain day of the week or whenever you have a quarter of a tank left on the gas gauge. That way you’ll always have the power to choose your preferred station.
Earn Discounts On Gas At The Grocery Store
Some grocery stores offer point systems that translate into big savings at particular gas stations. Ralphs, for example, teams up with Shell to give grocery store customers 10 cents per gallon off. It might not sound like much, but on a 20 gallon refuel, it’s $2. Fill up every week and that’s a savings of over one hundred dollars every year.
Some offer points on every purchase, double points on gas gift card purchases while others offer even more points on special buys. Whatever the case may be, take advantage of these offers to save money on gas while buying the food you’d normally get anyway. To maximize savings, pass around a few duplicate store cards to family members so your points balance soars.
Map Out Your Route With Your Smartphone
Use the Google Maps app to help you plan your next trip. Just type (or say) your destination and you’ll be presented with several route options. Choose the route that uses the least amount of miles so you’ll use the least amount of gas.
You can also check the status of the traffic which is helpful because stop and go traffic burns a lot of gas.
Make Sure To Keep Your Car Properly Maintained
Regularly maintaining your vehicle is essential for engine performance and gas mileage. Make sure tires are properly inflated and have plenty of thread. Change your air filters as recommended, top off your coolant and get an oil change regularly. If you do all of these things you’ll ensure your car is getting the best possible mpg rate.
Don’t Overload Your Car
Traveling at maximum capacity can sink your gas mileage. Only travel with the items you need and don’t treat the trunk as your personal closet space. If you must haul something, put it in the trunk and not the roof to minimize wind resistance.
Skip The Air Conditioner
If you don’t need it, skip the air conditioner and use the windows instead. The AC unit may keep your car cool, but it’s a notorious gas hog, so skip it whenever possible. While having some windows cracked open may create some drag, it won’t waste as much gas as your AC does.
If it’s a hot summer day and you can’t stomach the idea of turning off the air conditioner, then turn the temperature to a comfortable level and at least turn it down.
Use The GasBuddy App To Find The Best Rates
With the Gas Buddy app you can find gas at the lowest possible price in your area. Taking advantage of this app, especially when traveling in unfamiliar areas, is the best way to find the cheapest gas possible. Just don’t go too many miles out of your way or else you’ll nullify any possible savings you might get.
If you don’t have the app and are looking to refuel, exit the freeway in a populated area, skip the first gas station you see and go to the next one a few blocks away. Gas stations near the freeway almost always charge more.