No one likes pain, and pain at the pump also means pain on the wallet. But, there are some things you can do to ease the suffering as the nation goes through an unsettling price hike on fuel. While this is a minor inconvenience compared to what others around the world are going through, the opportunity to find some savings on gas is still appreciated.
Here are a dozen easiest things you can do to find savings at the pump and save the most money on gas.
1. Use tracking apps to find the cheapest gas. These days, there are tools we can use to find that extra savings. Numerous apps, like GasBuddy or Gas Guru, as well as membership associations and websites (like AAA or even Geico’s website) regularly publish and update the latest prices on fuel. This means you can find the gas station closest to you for a tank top-up. Forget the regular station near your house, sometimes driving across town can achieve more savings since the fuel is cheaper there. Remember that prices are often higher in heavily trafficked areas, including by the airport.
2. Never fall for rental car gas. If you’re renting a car, many agencies offer the opportunity to avoid filling it up yourself. They’ll fill it up for you when you return the car. Sounds convenient, right? Except they will charge you an arm and a leg for it. Search for a gas station before returning the car, and avoid using one near the airport as they tend to charge higher rates.
3. Be your own mechanic. There are lots of things we can do to increase the gas efficiency of our cars, and this includes checking the gas cap, which when loose can lead to fuel evaporation. Be sure to tighten it after filling up. Why release that pricey gas into the air? The same goes for deflated tires. Many cars have indicator lights that provide details on your tire inflation, too. Make sure they are pumped up to the fullest for the most efficient ride as this will help reduce drag as you drive. If you drive with the windows completely open at high speed, this also creates drag. Keep them closed when speeding down the highway (or when going over 55mph, according to the AARP) to save a bit of gas.
4. Lighten the load. Speaking of drag, the heavier your car, the more gas you need to move it. If you’re hauling around everything including the kitchen sink, consider storing it in your garage or somewhere else. Driving around with extra weight will cost you more. If you want to check your own gas efficiency, there are apps for that, too. Fuel-tracking apps like JerryCan can help you maximize the distance you drive to achieve the most fuel efficiency for every mile you travel.
5. Use Fetch Rewards to earn cash back. When filling up gas or buying anything really, save those receipts. Be sure to use Fetch Rewards to scan your receipts and receive a percentage back in savings. The extra money comes in the form of gift cards to your favorite retailers, restaurants and other places you frequent. It’s easy, and fun, so don’t throw you receipts away.
All of your purchases go further with Fetch Rewards. The more you shop and snap, the more you can save at the pump with Fetch — and get cash back to buy more of the things you love and need.
6. Surveys and cash back portals. Many online research companies offer cash for taking consumer surveys that ask about your spending and purchase habits. You can earn free cash for taking them, but of course, consider the value of your time as well. If you’re making purchases online, be sure to go through an online shopping portal like Swagbucks or Rakuten. These offer a percentage back of any purchase you make, and they send you a check with free cash every quarter. Hundreds of retailers participate, and these include the places you frequent everyday including places like Target, Banana Republic, Home Depot and many more.
7. Grocery store and wholesale clubs. Many grocery stores and wholesale clubs like Sam’s Club offer discount programs that can shave off the cost of gas for every fill-up you make at their own filling stations. Instead of using a regular gas station, be sure to check the prices at your favorite grocery store.
8. Fuel rewards programs. Some gas stations have their own rewards programs. Shell Rewards, for example, offers savings on each tank of gas and is free to join. Be sure to link it with your American Airlines AAdvantage number to earn miles and savings with each tank of gas you buy. Some gas station reward programs, like Speedy Rewards, let you earn points that you can redeem later for gift cards, too.
9. No more pedal to the metal. The faster you drive (and the more you accelerate or keep your foot on the pedal), the more gas you use. If you can, consider driving a bit slower, or on the highway, use cruise control. This will help cut back on the amount of fuel that you burn.
10. Are you overpaying for gas? Some cars can easily operate on the cheapest fuel option, and many car dealerships can advise if you can shift to a lower octane. Many premium cars recommend using a higher grade, but give your dealership a call. A few minutes of your time may lead to significant savings if they agree that you can use a lower octane or even alternate between premium and lower octane grades every other fill-up.
11. Use Google Maps. If you don’t want to add another app to your phone, consider using Google Maps. It has a feature that allows you to tap on “Gas,” and it will provide the latest prices for all of the fuel stations around you.
12. Paying in cash. This one can vary by location, but some gas stations (especially smaller “mom and pop” type places) will offer savings when paying in cash. This means they don’t have to pay a percentage of the cost to the credit card company, and they are passing along the savings to you. Do consider, if using a rewards or cash back credit card, the potential points or cash back that you are trading off though when paying in cash. Some credit cards offer bonus points at gas stations like the Hilton Honors American Express Card, which offers 5x points when paying with the card, and can translate to other rewards that are more valuable to you than what you are saving by paying in cash. There are several other cards that offer bonuses for gas station purchases like the Ink Business Cash Credit Card and the Citi Rewards+ Card.
There you have it! Use these tips to save money on gas and get the best deals. Then, go a step farther and snap your receipt to start earning with Fetch Rewards. When you scan your receipt, you can earn you points toward a free gift card that can be used at your favorite restaurants, stores, and travel destinations.
Happy driving (and saving)!