Unless you live in a large city and can walk everywhere without having to drive, you, my friend, are familiar with the struggles of paying for gas for a vehicle. The truth is, most of us have to consider gas as a significant part of our monthly budget.
Gas, much like electricity or groceries, can be a non-negotiable expense, and depending on the current economic situation, it can be really cheap, or really expensive. However, no matter the price of gas, there are ways to keep some of that money in your wallet for another use.
If you’re looking to save money on gas, look no further! Here are 21 ways to save money on gas for your car!
1. Use a Phone App to Find the Best Gas Prices
Technology is great, isn’t it? Our phones can not only help direct us for the best routes, but can also provide tools to find the cheapest gas. No more driving around from station to station – find an app to do the legwork…er, wheel work for you.
GasBuddy is an app that’s been around for a while, and they offer rewards, and even allow you to pay with GasBuddy. The Free Forever gas card saves you up to $0.25 per gallon. They even have a premium offering that saves up to $0.40 per gallon!
Waze is another app that can help you save by showing you gas prices near your route, so you don’t actually eat up those savings driving miles out of the way. Both of these are available on both Android and iPhone.
2. Use an App to Map your Route
Is there anything worse than sitting in gridlocked traffic, or constantly slamming on brakes because of congestion? It’s even worse when you realize you’re wasting money as your car idles and that money is just flowing out of your tailpipe, without you actually getting anywhere.
Using an app like Waze or Google Maps can help you identify accidents ahead and if there are alternative routes to get you where you need to go faster. Yes, you may feel silly routing home, but saving time and money is definitely better than sitting on a freeway!
3. Keep your Tires Properly Inflated
Let’s face it – we usually don’t give our tires any attention unless they’re flat. Not only is this unsafe (think of your tread), but it’s costing us money. Keeping your tires properly inflated can extend your gas mileage by up to 3%.
To check your tire pressure and inflate them, you can find air pumps at most gas stations. They may not be free, so it’s a good idea to keep about $2.00 in quarters in your car for this specific purpose. It’s easy, quick, inexpensive, and very much worth it!
4. Stay on Top of Car Maintenance
Along with your tires, there are other things that you should monitor to make sure your car is as efficient with gas mileage as possible. Your car’s maintenance should be scheduled ahead of time to ensure you can stay on top of what’s required to keep it in shape.
Replacing air filters, and using the recommended grade of motor oil can help improve your gas mileage. Issues like a faulty oxygen sensor need to be addressed by a trusted mechanic, but you can learn how to change your own oil to save money there, as well.
5. Use Seat Warmers Instead of your Heater
It’s a fact that, in the winter, your car uses gas less efficiently. One of the contributing factors to this is when your heater is used. I get that you don’t want to drive cold, but using seat warmers instead of your heater can help you save money on gas!
6. Plan for No-Drive Days
It sounds obvious, but one of the biggest ways to save money on gas is to not drive as frequently. If you look back over the past few months at errands and times you drove, can you spot maybe a day or two when driving wasn’t necessary?
No-drive days are primarily used in larger cities to cut down on air pollution, but why not park it to give your wallet a rest, too? Leaving your car to rest for a day will not cause harm and gives you a break from the stress of commuting.
7. Fill Up your Tank on the Right Day
Filling up your gas tank on a Friday as you head out of town for your vacation guarantees you’ll pay more money. Gas stations know that weekend trips are what bring in the bucks, as well as fill ups during the start of the week on Sunday.
The best days to fill up your tank are Monday and Tuesday, as those are the least common times that people get gas. And, so you don’t fall into the trap of running to empty over the weekend, top off your tank on Wednesday or Thursday.
8. Consider Park and Rides, Public Transportation or Carpooling
One of the best job opportunities I had was located in a city 45 minutes away, and that was freeway times with no traffic. I was dreading the commute, until I found a Park and Ride 5 miles from my home!
I could drive 5 miles to the lot (with affordable prices!), jump on a bus, and get off one block from my office – all without having to stress about the stop-and-go on the freeway myself. Park and Rides can save you significant gas money and mileage on your car.
More and more, communities and suburbs that border larger cities are considering Park and Ride lots as a great way to use space and become more attractive for people that want to work in cities without driving so far.
If you live within city limits, learn how to use public transportation like trains, buses, or trolleys to get you where you need to go. And, if you have a friend or coworker, consider carpooling to save money! Apps like Waze Carpooling can help you get started!
9. Look for Top Tier Gasoline
Top Tier gasoline may cost a few cents more at the pump, but it can actually save you money on gas. Poor quality gas can leave behind sludge which can wreak havoc on your engine and decrease fuel efficiency. Basically, it costs more money in the long run.
Take note of these retailers that use Top Tier gasoline and identify which stations are near your home. Make it a habit to aim for those places first, and save dollars, not pennies, when you put quality gas into your car!
10. Use Grocery Store Fuel Points
Grocery stores are now teaming up with gas stations to provide more savings for you! Basically, once you register with a rewards card, you can use that rewards card when you check out at the grocery store and get points (which turn into discounts) towards fuel.
You can get points for specific groceries, gift cards, or even prescriptions at the grocery store. This can result in $0.10 off per gallon. Ask your favorite grocer if they provide fuel points, or see how Kroger and Harris Teeter provide their points.
11. Consider a Warehouse Club for Cheaper Gas
Warehouse clubs offer a lot of benefits, and cheaper gas is one of them! Clubs like Costco and BJ’s Warehouse not only offer consistently cheaper gas per gallon, but they also offer other incentives like additional gas discounts from using a store card or purchasing specific items each month.
12. Plan Out your Errands Ahead of Time
Is there anything more annoying than leaving your house five times in one day for errands? How about wasting gas while you do it? Multiple quick trips actually lessen your gas efficiency than doing those errands at once!
Start by making a list of your errands for the week and seeing which ones you can group together to save on trips. You can also arrange them to minimize backtracking, or going back and forth, so that you line them up by distance from your house.
13. Minimize Rapid Accelerations
Nobody likes sitting at stop lights, so when it’s green, it’s natural to want to get out of there as quickly as possible. However, that’s a no-no when it comes to gas efficiency. Rapid acceleration can sometimes cost you over $1.00 per gallon in waste!
Whether you are merging in traffic, leaving from a stopped position, or driving on the freeway, minimize your rapid accelerations to save both gas and money.
14. Reduce your Speed
There are times when I have a lead foot, but when I see my gas efficiency meter dropping, I tend to let up. Reducing your speed (within a safe margin) can help your car process gas more efficiently. Plus, speeding can cost you almost 20 cents more per gallon!
This doesn’t mean a drastic change, but try even just 3 mph to see if it helps. At a minimum, aim for the speed limit, since driving drastically over 60 mph burns that fuel, and dollars, right up.
15. Use your Windows Wisely
I love a good breeze through the car with the radio turned up during summer, but depending on where I’m driving, that can cost significantly more money with wasted gas! When it’s hot outside, what should you do? Well, it depends.
If you are driving in slower city streets, it’s a good idea to lower your windows, but on the interstate, keep those windows up! At higher speeds, lowered windows can create more drag on your car, meaning it’s not going as far as it could on that tank of gas.
16. Avoid Extra Weight in the Car
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve opened the trunk of my car to see “the pile” growing bigger and bigger, without me even knowing what’s back there! Well, that extra weight can make a big difference in the fuel efficiency of your car!
Even though it may seem like a few bottles here or there don’t make a difference, those pounds add up faster than you realize. Declutter your car to reduce the weight you’re unnecessarily carrying around and improve your gas efficiency.
17. Reduce Wind Resistance on your Car
Roof racks, cargo holders and bike racks can be necessary at times to carry your items, however, they can be a big source of drag on your vehicle. When not in use, make sure your racks are properly stored and don’t remain on your car at all times!
18. Buy Regular Octane Fuel
It is often assumed that buying Premium grade gas will help your car run better and more efficiently, however, that is not necessarily the case. Unless your car specifically calls for Premium grade gas, you can save up to 50 cents per gallon (or more) by using regular octane fuel!
19. Reduce Idle Time in the Driveway and on the Road
Growing up, my parents would crank the car while they would finish getting ready in the morning so it would be warmed up by the time they were ready to drive. Well, that amount of idle time is no longer recommended. Believe it or not, 30 seconds should do it.
Leaving your car idling wastes gas and doesn’t do much in the way of your engine. The same goes for interstate and freeway traffic. Plan your route according so you don’t find yourself just sitting in place!
20. Rack up Credit Card Rewards Points
One way to save money on gas is to get money back for the gas you’re already pumping! Many credit cards offer money back on gas purchases that go all the way up to 4% back. Getting money back can help you save towards your next gas purchase.
Another way to save is the Costco Anywhere Visa Card – if you’re already paying less for using the warehouse club anyway, why not stack other rewards on top of it? This is an indirect way of saving money on gas, but it still counts!
21. Consider Buying a more Gas Efficient Vehicle
If you’re in the market for a new car and want to save money on gas, consider a car with better fuel economy, or even a hybrid vehicle that runs on both electricity and gas. Even if you can’t buy new, you still have options out there!
Gas efficient vehicles are being improved year after year, so even models from a few years ago may be better than a much older vehicle. Even if you’re strapped for cash, you can find good models for less than $5000.
FAQs on How to Save Money on Gas
How do I save money on gas?
Basically, stretching your gas further by driving as efficiently as possible, and keeping your car in good shape will help you save money on gas. Also, consider the day of the week, with Monday or Tuesday being good days to fill up your tank!
Are there apps that save money on gas?
How can I make car gas last longer?
You can stretch out the gas in your tank by reducing weight and drag in your vehicle, combining your errands, and keeping your car in good shape with proper maintenance.
There are numerous ways to both stretch your gas further, and save money at the pump. Tally up how much you currently spend on gas each month, apply some of these tips, and see just how much you can save!
And, check these articles for more ways to save on everything from groceries to electricity.