The price of gas these days is unbelievable – just a few years ago, $5 a gallon was unthinkable, but it now seems inevitable (and right around the corner). Can you even imagine how high the price of gas will go if there is another Gulf coast hurricane? What about further conflict in the Middle East? It boggles the mind.
And to be perfectly frank, the price of gas is only going to rise. It may rise quickly or gradually, but the fact that the price will rise is a certainty. The only aspect of all this that is within our control is the price we personally pay for gas – and how we save money on gas. Following are nine tips that can save you money at the pump. Some are just common sense while others are lesser-known strategies: but all will save you money.
1. Plan Your Route
Take a little time and plan out needed travel. Work, shopping, or errands; all are opportunities to save money on gas. You may be able to find a shorter route to work or one which has less traffic. Errands and shopping can be combined into one trip – and vacations can be taken closer to home.
2. Turn Down The Air
Use your air conditioning only when you really need to. Gas mileage goes down when you use your air conditioning. On very hot days you may have to, but often you can merely roll down the windows to stay comfortable.
3. Low-Octane Gas
Don’t use high-octane gas. Just about every car out there does perfectly well with normal gas. Unless the auto manufacturer says that high-octane gas is a necessity for your car, it is just a waste of money. Octane rating tells you how easy (or difficult) the gas is to ignite and has no bearing whatsoever on its efficiency. If you hear your engine knocking, you may then need to use high octane gas – otherwise, stick with regular.
4. Use Gas Card
Use a gasoline credit card to save money at the pump. Credit card companies are always trying to find ways to make you use their credit card. For example, when you use the Sinclair gas card, you get an extra 10¢ off every gallon at all Sinclair gas stations. Some gas credit cards even offer you a rebate of 5% when you buy gas; in other words, a savings of 15¢ per gallon at current prices! There are other companies who offer 10% rebates as a limited-time offer – be sure to take advantage of these if at all possible.
5. Less Sediment
Don’t get your gas when the station has just refilled their tanks. When the tanks have just been filled, you will get more sediment than if you buy your gas a little later – you want less sediment and more gas, so wait a few hours. This sediment isn’t so great for your fuel line filter either.
6. Pump Own Gas
Pump your own gas. This is easy to do and can save you money. In a few states (New Jersey, for instance) you are barred by law from pumping your own gas. But on the other hand, full-service gas is still cheaper in New Jersey than it is in say, Pennsylvania.
7. Shop Around
Shop around for the cheapest station. It doesn’t matter at all what brand of gas you buy, it is all the same. Prices may vary by as much as .10 to .15 a gallon when you shop around. It’s worth a (short) extra drive to make these savings. There are even some apps out there, such as GasBuddy, that show you the cheapest gas station near you.
8. Fill When Cool
Buy your gas when the temperature is cool. Early morning and late evening are good times for this. Gas pumps sell gas by volume, not by weight. Gas condenses when the temperature is cooler, so you will get more for your money at 6 AM than you will at noon.
9. Fuel-Efficient Vehicles
The best way of all for saving on gas is to drive a fuel-efficient vehicle. When you need to buy a new car, truck, or other vehicle, look for one which has a high mileage rating while still meeting your needs. If you have three kids to take all over, a Mini Cooper is probably not for you. Look into which vehicles match your requirements and then sort by fuel efficiency.
Following these tips will help you to save money on gas. Best of all, you can buy yourself a present with your savings instead of giving your money away to the oil companies.