These days, most of us are driving around a lot. Whether it is to and from work, for business meetings, to the grocery stores, taking and dropping off kids at school, kids sports or other activities or just meeting friends out for a drink, we spend a lot of time in our cars. Since we are in ours so much, we are always looking for ways to save on gas and keep within our budget. So here are some of the best ways we have learned to save on gas.
It’s all About Location
One of the first things that I learned is that not every gas station is equal. Gas prices can vary wildly depending on which part of town you happen to be in. Take the city I live in, for example. Gas on the south side outside of downtown can be up to $.40 per gallon cheaper sometimes than other parts of town. That is absolutely ridiculous!
Therefore, get to know your home base better. Learn where better gas prices usually are. Once you do that, it makes it easier to save on gas if you hit those stations regularly. But that may include some planning on your part, depending upon where you live.
I know where the best gas prices are closest to me, so I make it a point to keep an eye on where my gas gauge is to give me a better sense of when I will need gas. Then, once I have narrowed that down, I try to plan my route around going to one of those gas stations in the time frame I will need it.
Plan Your Route
Speaking of planning my route, that is another big piece of the puzzle. If you don’t have things planned out, with regard to the places you need to go for the day, then you could really be burning up some cash. So planning ahead of time is very important.
A good example of this is:
- Let’s say you know you have to drop kids off and pick them up from school, hit the grocery stores, and the library
- Then planning the best route to maximize your time, and gas mileage is extremely helpful
Map out the routes in your head and figure out the best time of day, and best route, to get it all done at once. This way you won’t have to waste time, gas and wear and tear on your vehicle going back and forth between home and these different places.
By planning your route out to spend the least amount of time, and miles, on the road, the further your gas will go.
Another great way to save on gas is with apps. There are two that I have been using for a while now. One much longer than the other, but both have helped me out a ton.
I have been using this one for years now. And while I don’t use it as often as the newer app anymore, it still helps me out occasionally. This is especially true when I find myself somewhere else, other than my home area.
Gas Buddy is a free app, which is the only kind I use. It works by tracking my location and shows me the best prices in the vicinity. You can search by city, zip code or by hitting the “Find Gas Near Me” button in the middle of the home page. This pulls up a map of where you are and shows you all of the gas stations nearby, with their prices listed.
You can also report gas prices when you are at a gas station. This is to confirm that the prices they are showing are correct. When you do this, you will get “points” that you can use to enter their daily drawing for a $100 gas gift card. While I haven’t won one of the gift cards yet, it doesn’t hurt to keep trying!
The Get Upside app is one of my new favorites. This app is pretty new nationwide still and hasn’t hit every area. But they give rebates on gas and groceries. Our area only offers the gas rewards right now, but I am hopeful they will start offering grocery store rebates soon.
How this one works is similar to Gas Buddy. As soon as you pull up the app, it pulls up a map of where you are and all of the gas stations on the map in relation to you that they have an agreement with. The app shows you the price of gas at each station after the rebate, not before. So this is a good thing to keep in mind.
However, if you click on one of the gas station dots on the map, it will pull up more in-depth information. This includes the address of the gas station, the original gas price, and how much the rebate is.
If you decide to get gas at one of the stations, you have to click “Claim” in order to activate it. Yo u must click this before you start pumping gas. Once you pump gas, you then must click on “Upload Receipt.” If you do not get a receipt, you can’t claim the reward, so this is another important tip.
Once the receipt uploads, you will confirm it and that is that. The money shows up in your Get Upside account to cash out. You can cash out via PayPal to get cash, or you can use the cash for a digital gift card from places such as:
- AMC Theaters
- Bed Bath & Beyond
- CVS Pharmacy
- Dunkin Donuts
- Gap Options (any stores owned by Gap)
- Google Play
- Home Depot
- iTunes & App Store
- On the Border Mexican Grill
- Panera Bread
They seem to be constantly adding new options also, so you really can’t go wrong with this app. Especially since it is also free!
The easiest way to get these is by grabbing one of the applications at a station when you are there. They usually have them out by the pumps. But you can also do it online, which may end up being faster.
These are not credit cards but are solely rewards cards. Depending upon the card, and how often you have used it, the rewards can vary. I have been able to get anywhere from $.02 to $.13 off of each gallon of gas, per purchase.
Therefore, when I am searching for gas stations using one of the aforementioned apps, I am also looking for one of the stations I have a rewards card for. This way I can sometimes double my rewards and the total amount of money I save on gas. Bonus!
Time of Day
My last tip for saving money on gas is to be very aware of when you fill-up.
Filling up when it is cooler outside, costs you less money overall. This is due to the fact that there is less evaporation of gasoline fumes while fueling, so less loss. So shoot to fuel up in the morning or later at night, whenever possible.
Also, filling up early morning (and I mean EARLY) or late evening can sometimes net you lower fuel prices. Gas station prices can fluctuate during the day when refueling trucks show up. So if you go during off-hours, that isn’t peak, and when it’s cooler, this is optimal.
The very last tip is to always remember to do your best not to get gas from a gas station if a refueling truck is there. This is because when the refueling trucks pump new gasoline into the tanks, they disturb the sediment at the bottom of the tank. This is “gunk” that you don’t want in your tank and reduces your gas mileage.
Overall, choosing your location, the time of day, using apps, rewards cards, and planning your route all help maximize your gas mileage and reduce costs.
What are some of the best ways you have found to save on gas?