As consumers we know there are price increases from time to time on the goods and services we use every day. However, one extreme fluctuation happened about eight years ago when the average price of a gallon of gas spiked at over $4.00. This was largely due largely to an increase in the cost of oil.
I don’t know about you, but that hit my budget pretty hard even though I was still in high school at the time. My parents did pay for some of my fuel, but I had to chip in too and I found myself doing far less driving when the price at the gas pump spiked.
Even though the price of fuel has gone down since then, I still try figure out how to save at the gas pump whenever I can. Below are a few ideas I use to help me save as much as I can.
Make Trips Count
Even though that was quite a few years ago, I started getting into the habit then of making my trips around town count as much as possible.
At the time, I lived a few miles from town on my family’s farm, so trips back and forth to school and work racked up the miles and emptied my gas tank pretty quickly. If I had errands, I planned my route so there was no backtracking and wasted gas.
This is a habit I have carried forward to this day and I know the extra few minutes of planning has saved me money over the years. Even now that I work from home and can run errands anytime I want, I still try to “group” them so I can do them all at once.
Watch for Price Changes
If you can, plan to get your gas earlier in the week when prices tend to a little lower. As it gets closer to the weekend, prices usually go up at the gas pump because people travel more.
Whenever possible, check the price of fuel farther into town rather than on the edge of town or right off a highway. Usually the prices are higher the closer you are to the highway, sometimes as much as a dollar per gallon higher, due to the convenience.
For example, there is a gas station right on the edge of my hometown that catches a lot of suckers from the highway. If they would drive just a block or two further into town, they could save about $0.50 per gallon!
Another trick to find the best prices at the gas pump is by using a price comparison app such as Gas Buddy.
Maintain Your Vehicle
Changing your fuel filter and oil on a regular schedule, as well as checking your tires, can help you with fuel efficiency and save you money in the long run. Using the correct type of oil in your vehicle and keeping up with other maintenance can enhance fuel efficiency too.
Look for Incentives
Sign up for a gas rewards program. When I was in college, our whole family used the same rewards program through Dillon’s (a Kroger store). Even though I had to drive almost four hours back and forth when I went home for the holidays, I was able to save quite a bit of money fueling up this way and my parents were kind enough to save the fuel points for me since I was a broke college kid. 🙂
Use your cruise control to increase fuel efficiency and save money. Avoid jackrabbit starts and excessive breaking. Quick starts burn more fuel and riding the break wears through your brake pads faster, both of which will hit you in the wallet eventually.
If you can leave a little earlier and drive at a slower speed, your gas efficiency will be higher too.
What other ideas do you have on how to save at the gas pump?