Filling up the gas tank can be a thoroughly miserable experience as you watch the counter flip past $40, then $50, and keep on going.
But you can save money on gas based on where you fill up, how you pay, when you visit the gas station, how you drive and even the condition of your car.
We’ve compiled 20 smart tips to help you spend less on fuel that could save you hundreds of dollars over the course of a year.
How to Save Money on Gas at the Pump
The biggest savings will be evident in the price you pay at the gas station. So it’s worth shopping around and employing a bit of strategy before filling up.
1. Use Apps to Find the Cheapest Gas
You don’t want to buy gas at one place and then come across a station with cheaper fuel just down the street. Several websites and apps tell you the price of gasoline at the stations in your area. GasBuddy and Waze are two popular options.
Look for the cheapest gas stations along any of the routes you normally drive for work or shopping. Don’t wait until your tank is near empty and be forced to buy gas wherever is closest.
The price of gas can vary significantly across state lines, so if you’re planning a trip, check where prices are lower throughout your route. Avoid getting gas at stations just off a highway exit or in the middle of a major city, as stations in those locations tend to charge more than ones a little more out of the way.
2. Skip the Premium Option
Higher-octane gas isn’t necessary or beneficial in most cars, so you’re just spending more money when you buy premium. Premium gas can cost about 20 cents per gallon more than regular-grade fuel. Use regular-grade gasoline unless your car’s manufacturer specifically requires premium.
3. Join a Fuel Rewards Program
Many gas station chains and grocery stores across the country offer fuel rewards programs to try to turn you into a loyal customer. Each gas station fuel rewards program and grocery store fuel rewards program has its own set of rules on how much you can save and what you have to spend in order to get the rewards, so read up on the details.
GasBuddy also offers its own fuel savings program called Pay with GasBuddy. You can save 5 cents per gallon by signing up for free, or you can save 20 cents per gallon by signing up for one of its paid versions. (Note: Exxon Mobil, BJs, Costco, Sam’s Club, H-E-B, select Walmart stations, select Arco stations and some small, local gas stations don’t accept the Pay with GasBuddy card.)
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