Sticker shock is a problem at the pump these days. The price of gas has surged 50 percent in the past year, with consumers looking to fill up looking at an average price of $3.41 a gallon. Some states, like California, even flirt with nearly $5.00 per gallon.
After the acute phase of the pandemic in 2020, Americans are now traveling more, increasing demand for gas. Everything from the cost of obtaining oil to processing it to delivering it to operating the gas station you’re parked in has gone up. But that doesn’t mean you can’t exert a little control over the price you’re paying to refuel. If you already have a fuel rewards card or a credit card that offers cash back on gas but want to save more, here’s how.
1. Skip the premium gas.
In an extensive list on saving at the pump, The Penny Hoarder advises that drivers skip premium fueling options, which can add 20 to 40 cents on average per gallon. If it’s 25 cents, you could save $3.75 on a 15-gallon tank. Your car isn’t likely to benefit tremendously from the upgrade unless your vehicle’s manufacturer specifically recommends or requires it.
2. Fill up early in the week.
Prices can actually fluctuate depending on the day, with stations sometimes raising prices from Friday through Sunday to capitalize on weekend travel. If you can, you might be better served topping off on a Monday or Tuesday.
3. Check out Costco.
Warehouse giant Costco offers gas at many of their locations, and members can save quite a bit grabbing their fuel at the same time they stock up on bulk products. How much you save can vary widely by region, but in California, drivers have saved as much as $6.75 for a fill-up.
4. Use a gas app.
Apps like GasBuddy save you the trouble of driving around—and wasting gas—on finding lower prices, pointing you in the direction of stations in your area that can net you some savings. GasBuddy in particular also has a rewards program, meaning you can save twice over—once by finding the best price at the pump and again by earning points towards a discount.
5. Check out your car.
Gas savings isn’t always about what you pay for fuel but about how you use it. Cars with under-inflated tires, too much cargo, or even a loose gas cap can all affect the mileage you get per gallon. A little maintenance goes a long way.
[h/t The Penny Hoarder]