Unless you drive an electric vehicle, spending money at the gas pump is unavoidable when you own a car. Still, there are plenty of ways to trim your fuel costs. Changing your driving habits is a good place to start, but you can save even more by implementing a few new strategies for filling up. The next time you visit the gas station, keep these six tips in mind.
Caring for Your Car: Are these bad driving habits reducing your vehicle’s lifespan?
Take advantage of incentives
All sorts of incentives are available out there to lower your fuel costs. Many gas station chains offer loyalty programs and cash-back credit cards. Applying for regular cash-reward credit cards is also a good way to start saving on gas. Across the U.S., you’ll find big-box and grocery chains that offer gas rewards at their on-site stations. For example, you can scan the Kroger Plus card and get 10 cents off per gallon for every $100 of groceries you buy.
Use gas-price apps
To find the lowest gas prices in your area or along your travel route, consider downloading a smartphone app. GasBuddy is probably the best-known app, but it’s not the only one. Gas Guru, Waze, and GetUpside are just a few of your other options. AAA and the insurance company Geico also offer gas-price tools.
Don’t top off
When the gas pump clicks off, it’s time to stop. Topping off your tank can create problems for your vehicle and contribute to air pollution, but it’s also bad for your budget. If you overfill your gas tank, the pump’s vapor recovery system sends gas back to the tank to keep vapor from getting into the air. So you’re essentially paying for gas that the station gets to keep.
Be Prepared: Here’s what should be in your car’s emergency kit
Skip the premium
Do you fill your vehicle’s tank with premium gas? You might be wasting your money. While some vehicles require the more expensive stuff (check your owner’s manual), most are just fine with regular. Even if you get a tiny performance or efficiency boost, higher-octane fuels are so much more expensive that you likely won’t come out ahead.
Pick the right day
The day you pick to fill your engine can have a big impact on how much money you spend at the pump. Typically, prices start out lower early in the week, then gradually rise to a weekend peak. Just switching your weekly fill-up from a Saturday to a Tuesday could result in significant savings over time.
Check your tires
While you’re at the gas station, take a few minutes to check your tire pressure at the air pump. Properly inflated tires are a great way to help your vehicle operate more efficiently — and reduce the amount you spend on fuel.
Following any one of these tips is a great way to trim your gas budget — and taking full advantage of them all could save you some serious money.
A longtime editor/writer and recently transplanted Hoosier, Caleb Cook lives in Xenia, Ohio. His favorite activities are reading and listening to music, although he occasionally emerges from the heap of books and vinyl records in his basement to stand blinking in the sunlight. Once fully acclimated to the outside world again, he can be observed hanging out with his wife, attempting a new recipe in the kitchen, attending movies, walking the dog, or wandering into a local brewery to inquire about what’s on tap. See more articles by Caleb.