Save money on gasoline when pump prices start to rise again

Gas prices continue to wreak havoc on US family budgets. While the average cost of a gallon of gas in the United States is down 14 cents from a record high of $ 4.33 in early March, it is still $ 1.29 more than this time last year, per AAA. Over a year, that increase could cost families up to $ 2,000 more.

Even worse, some states are showing new price peaks. Delaware, Maryland, Ohio and Indiana have all seen their average prices jump more than 10 cents per gallon in the past week.

Rising demand for petrol, seasonal industrial factors, rising oil costs and war in Ukraine have all contributed to high gas prices. Even if you can not do much about geopolitical factors, you can take steps to save some money when you fill the tank.

Read on to find the best tips for saving money at the pump, including gas trackers, improved fuel efficiency and club membership. For more, discover three easy ways to save money on common products, how to protect your savings against inflation and why the prices of everything are rising.

1. Track local prices and find the best gas station

GasBuddy is a well known website for tracking gas prices in the US and Canada. It also provides data for the US Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy gas tracking sites. Both websites share data but present the information in different ways – try both to see which one you prefer. GasBuddy is available on the web or via mobile apps for Android and iOS, although critics have expressed concern about its data tracking and privacy policy.

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Geico also provides a useful local gas station tracker: Enter an address, city or postcode plus a maximum range, and Geico will return a detailed list and map with regular petrol prices, mid-range and premium prices as well as directions to stations.

AAA provides a gas price tracker in its mobile app (Android, iOS), as well as Gas Guru (Android, iOS), and you can check gas prices near you when using navigation apps like Waze or Google Maps.

Get money back from gas credit cards and fuel rewards programs

Usually large gas stations offer credit cards and reward programs that give you a percentage back. Speedy Rewards offers a $ 25 gift card when you reach 500 points, or 50 gallons of gasoline. For $ 4.25 per gallon, it’s almost 12% back.

Shell and BP claim that you will save at least 5 cents per gallon with their respective reward programs, and ExxonMobil says you will get at least 3 cents off. Be sure to review the terms of each program to see exactly what percentage of your gas expenses you will be reimbursed.

Supermarket chains also offer rewards programs: For every $ 100 you spend on food on Safeway or Kroger for example, you get a 10 cent discount on gasoline the next time you refuel. Kroger works with Shell and Kroger Fuel Centers, while Safeway’s programs work with Chevron, Texaco and Safeway stations.

Pay for gasoline with cash instead of debit or credit

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GasBuddy shows both credit and cash prices if there is a difference.

Screenshot of Peter Butler / CNET

The practice of charging less for gasoline for customers who pay in cash varies by region and from gas station to station: In Los Angeles, several gas stations offer 20 cents discounts for cash, especially for premium gas.

That difference can increase quickly: you would save $ 3 each time you fill a 15-liter tank completely, or $ 156 per year if you top up each week. (Just look at these ATM fees: if you pay $ 2 to $ 3 to get your money every time, you lose money.)

4. Check your tire pressure

Ensuring that your tires are properly inflated can increase the gas mileage by 3%, according to the US Department of Energy. At current prices, it can save almost 13 cents per gallon.

But 60% of car owners only check their tire pressure if an indicator light comes on, according to Jiffy Lube’s Vehicle Maintenance Survey. A tire pressure gauge can monitor the health of your tires and costs only about $ 10 to $ 20.

When tires are worn down to a depth of 1/16 inch, they are considered “bare” and should be replaced immediately.

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Google Maps will recommend routes designed to save fuel.

Screenshot of Cliff Colby / CNET

5. Map your route

Google Maps can also increase your miles per gallon by recommending certain routes that avoid slopes and traffic, ideally resulting in more constant driving speeds. Fuel-efficient routes are available on the mobile Android and iOS apps, although the feature has not been rolled out to all users yet.

To enable fuel efficiency in Google Maps, tap the three dots on the directions screen, then tap “Route Options” and enable the “Prefer Fuel Routes” option.

Other fuel-tracking mobile apps like Fuelio and JerryCan provide methods to improve your fuel efficiency as well as track gasoline prices at stations. JerryCan claims that drivers who use its app can improve their fuel efficiency by up to 20%.

Try a club membership for discounted gas prices

Costco, Sam’s club and Walmart Plus all offer discounted gas prices to members. Walmart Plus charges 5 cents less at its gas stations, plus access to all of Sam’s Club locations. Membership costs $ 13 a month or $ 98 per year, while Sam’s Club memberships range from $ 45 to $ 100 per year.

Costco’s fuel prices are almost always significantly lower than at traditional petrol stations. On March 9, The Street reported that the average price of regular gasoline online at Costco was $ 3.69 per gallon, 56 cents cheaper than the national average. Costco membership costs between $ 60 and $ 120 per year.

Warning: Due to the recent price increase, gas pipelines at Costco has been notoriously long.

7. Buy discounted gas cards through retailers

Gift cards are a popular choice for simple gifts, but as you might expect, not all of these gift cards are used. A variety of retailers let consumers hook on to their unused gift cards or buy them cheaply.

Raise and Grandma gift card are two sites that allow users to buy and sell unused gift cards from Chevon, Texaco, Shell, BP and other gas suppliers. As you might guess, most discount gas gift cards are sold out right now, but you can set alerts for when new ones come in.

Be sure to check the actual price discount and other details for all cards – both sites also sell gift cards at retail prices, and Granny gift cards also sell reward cards.

8. Become a champion of fuel efficiency

You can ease gas consumption quite a bit by learning basic fuel efficiency methods. Tips for saving petrol when driving a car abound on the internet, and AAA has compiled some great tips. Here are some of the biggest savers:

  • Drive the speed limit, especially on the highway. Fuel economy drops sharply when you start driving faster than 80 km / h.
  • Turn down the acceleration. “Jackrabbit starts” – when a car winds forward very fast – is a big gas solver. By accelerating smoothly, the automatic transmission will also shift to higher gears earlier, which saves more fuel.
  • Avoid prolonged idling. You get nowhere while burning your gas. If it will take longer than 60 seconds, turn off the engine.
  • Minimize air conditioning. Even at high speeds, open windows damage your fuel efficiency less than air conditioning. Park in the shade or use a windshield to keep your car as cool as possible in the summer.
  • When driving in the city, set the traffic lights so you do not have to stop and start. Similarly, remove your foot from the gas as soon as you see a red light or near a stop sign. The less braking and acceleration, the more gas you save.

9. Go even further with hypermiling

In short, hypermiling is the method of maximizing fuel efficiency to the ultimate degree, from choosing routes that require less braking and acceleration to clearing out the trunk to reduce the weight of your vehicle.

Hypermilers can even park against the sun when it’s cold to save energy on defrosting the windshield, and in the shade when it’s cold to save on AC.

Below, CNET editor Brian Cooley explains how drivers can adapt extreme hypermiling techniques to increase their own fuel efficiency.

10. Think of bicycles, public transport and electric vehicles

Sky-high gas prices give you an opportunity to wean yourself off petrol-based transport at the right time. Cycling or using public transport more often will obviously help reduce your petrol costs.

Similarly, if you can afford an electric vehicle, it will surely reduce your gas usage. It’s not just Tesla – Hyundai, Ford, Porsche, Audi and many other car manufacturers now make electric cars. Bonus: you will fight pollution and climate change while saving money.

Check CNET Roadshows list of the best electric vehicles to learn about the latest and greatest electric cars.

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