Gas prices are rising. We cannot stop this and it is going to keep happening.
It’s kind of funny to think about gas being “so expensive” and low in supply in the late 70’s that we had to ration gasoline. People were freaking out to fill up their tanks, and the price of gas was only about $0.86. Oh, what we would do to be in that predicament today!
As of the writing of this post, the average price in the United States is $3.53, up nine cents from this time last year. It costs a lot more on the west coast and in part of the Northeast, like New York, where it gets up to about $4.45 per gallon.
Besides trying to find ways of getting better mileage on your car, the only other way to really save money is to try and spend less when you get to the pump. You can do this through a few different techniques found here.
Gas Station Coupons
Some gas stations, not many though, offer coupons to save money at their stations. Usually savings are about $.05 per gallon, which doesn’t sound like much, but any bit really helps right now. Consider this, if a Shell on one side of the street had a price for regular unleaded at $3.55/gallon, wouldn’t you wait an extra minute to cross the street if a BP had it for $3.50/gallon?
You can check your local paper for these, but it seems as though Holiday Stations are the main ones offering discounts now. You may want to look into the following options.
Most people have smart phones today. There are plenty of different apps that you can find to save money whether it be for finding discounts in your area, or putting together a budget.
I have been using an app called Gas Buddy for a while to find the cheapest gas in my area. This app is user generated, which means that people update it when they go to a particular gas station, or the employees at the stations will update the pricing. You will see the price for regular, premium, super, and diesel where applicable.
I think the app might be free, if not it might be about $2.00, which you’ll make back in no time by finding gas that is $0.25 per gallon cheaper than most areas around you. I use this app every single time I need to go out an fill up my tank, so I highly recommend this.
In California, we have Ralph’s discount card to help. Across the country, other Kroger brands are doing the same discount card promotion with Shell gas stations to help their customers save money by being loyal to Kroger grocery stores.
The way it works is this:
- Shop more at Ralphs, or another Kroger store, earn 1 point for every dollar spent (or 50 points for a single prescription refill)
- When you hit 100 points, you get $0.10 off per gallon at Shell
- If you get to 200 points, you save $0.20 cents per gallon at Shell stations
Cheapest Day of the Week to Buy Gas
Statistically, gas prices are lower on Wednesdays than the rest of the week. If you can hold out until a Wednesday, you can probably save some money filling up. One thing to keep in mind though, tanks that are at least half full are known to get better MPG than tanks that are running low.
Prices also jump just before holidays, so avoid filling up your tank a couple of days before any major holiday.
Gas Reward Credit Cards
Those of you with good enough credit scores should consider rewards credit cards with gas savings attached. Pretty much every single major gas station has a program that works with this using Visa, Mastercard, Discover or American Express. You can find applications hanging right next to the pumps.
Rather than get a card that saves on things like airline miles that expire and that you may not use, get a card that saves you money on gas, which is something that you need to buy every single month.
Here are some of the top credit card offers available right now:
American Express Blue Cash Preferred:
- Gas rewards: 3%
- Additional rewards: 6% rewards on groceries, 3% on department stores
- Rewards cap: None
- Annual fee: $75
- Signup bonus: $150
- Gas rewards: 3% average over the year
- Additional rewards: 5% on rotating bonus categories
- Rewards cap: $1,500 in bonus spending per quarter
- Annual fee: None
- Signup bonus: $100
Pentagon Federal Platinum Rewards:
- Gas rewards: 5%
- Additional rewards; None
- Rewards cap: None
- Annual fee: None
- Signup bonus: 25,000 PenFed Points
The cards work by giving you cash back rewards for using these particular credit cards at the pump.
For example, if you use a Pentagon Federal Platinum Rewards card you’d get 5% back on you gas purchases.
The average consumer spends about $150 per month on gas, so say you spend $150 per month on gas alone, you’d get back $7.50 per month in rewards. Spread that out over a year and that is an extra $90 back in your pocket to pay other expenses.
Well, this isn’t ways to get cheaper gas, but this is just a list of ways to get better mileage from your car to save you money in the long run. The less you need to fill up, the less you need to spend filling up your tank.
- Regular oil changes every 3,000 miles
- Keep your tires filled to the recommended PSI
- Do not accelerate too hard or stop too short
- Don’t drive with anything attached to your roof
- Take heavy items out of your back seat or trunk
- Don’t speed. Try to stay at the speed limit
- Keep the gas tank on tight
The Best Option
If you want to save the most money possible on gas, don’t drive. Keep your driving down as much as possible if you can. This means taking a walk when you are somewhere close, ride a bike to work if you can, or car pool as much as you can.