While it’s been a great relief to finally be on the tail end of the COVID pandemic, the cost of everything seems to have increased exponentially. And the price of gas at the pump is no exception. How much gas has jumped here is astronomical and fairly ridiculous. But, where we live, you simply have to have a car to get around because our public transportation is spotty, at best. Due to that, I’ve found some of the best ways to save money on gas to stretch my dollar further.
#1. TIME OF DAY
The most important tip, in my opinion, is to be very aware of when during the day you fill-up.
Filling up when it’s cooler outside ultimately costs you less money overall. This is due to the fact that there is less evaporation of gasoline fumes while fueling, so less loss. Therefore, 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, and when it’s cooler, you are more likely to get lower gas prices per gallon and retain more of the fuel you’re paying for.
As another caveat, do your best not to get gas from a gas station if a refueling truck is there. 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 because it reduces your gas mileage.
Just like everything else in life, not all things are created equally. And gas stations are no exception to this rule. Gas prices can vary widely depending on which part of town you’re in at the time. For example, gas on the south and southeast parts of town are much much cheaper than the north side of town where I live. Sometimes they can fluctuate up to a $1.00 a gallon in difference. Which is absolutely crazy!
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. However, it may include some planning on your part, depending upon where you live.
#3. ROUTE planning
With regards to planning routes, this can be another important part of the puzzle. Planning where you need to go for the day, and maximizing your time and gas money is important.
Map out the routes in your head, or on your map app on your phone, and figure out the best time of day and 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 and the less money you’ll ultimately be spending.
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.
The Get Upside app is one of my favorite gas apps. This app is expanding to offer more deals than just gas, which is awesome. However, how they operate is by giving rebates on gas, groceries, and restaurants.
As soon as you pull up the app, it pulls up a map of where you are and all of the participating stores on the map in relation to you. These are stores that they have an agreement with. Basically, it’s marketing for the stores to get you to shop with them versus their competitors. When you filter out all of the other stores and just look for gas stations, the prices you see will be the price of gas at each station after the rebate, not before. So this is a good thing to keep in mind.
All of the money saved goes into your Get Upside account until you cash it out. You can cash out at any time, but I usually wait until I have at least $20 in rewards. The way you can get the money out is either by PayPal or by choosing one of their many digital gift card options. I typically choose Amazon so that I can just use it for any of our many Amazon purchases.
This is my second favorite gas app, which I’ve been using this one for years now. Since I found Get Upside, I haven’t been using it as often, I must confess. But, it still helps me out when I’m out of my home area a lot, so I keep it in my back pocket.
Gas Buddy is a free app, that works by tracking location and shows the best gas 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!
#5. REWARDS CARDS
The easiest ways to get these is by grabbing one of the applications at a station when you are there or by downloading their app. 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. And these can be partnered with either of the aforementioned gas apps to help you save even more money. Which is an awesome bonus!
Save money on gas summary
Overall, even though gas is crazy expensive right now, there are ways to save money and stretch your dollar. By being cognizant of the time of day you refuel, location, route planning, using apps, and partnering with rewards cards you can really help maximize your gas mileage and reduce costs. And by doing so, enjoy your summer travel just a little bit more.
What are some of the best ways you’ve found to save money on gas this year?