How To Save Money On Gas | The Best Tips For Cheap Gas

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High gas prices are tough to swallow.

As you fill your gas tank, you see your bill increasing at warp speed.

Add into the mix rising gas prices, and the pain only increases.

The good news is you don’t have to settle paying a lot for gas.

There are many things you can do to save money on gas.

For example, you can change your driving habits or use apps to cut down on costs.

In this post, I share with you 25 ways for how to save money on gas.

By the end, you will have a handful of actionable tips you can put into use to start saving money both on the price you pay and by filling your gas tank less often.

KEY POINTS

The best way to save money at the pump is to use the free Upside app to earn cash back every time you fill up
Being more aware of your driving habits can save you a lot of money by improving your car’s fuel efficiency
Joining free gas rewards programs can also save you $0.05 or more on every gallon of gas

How To Save Money On Gas

How To Get Cheap Gas

how to save money on gas

If you want to know how to get gas cheaper, look no further than the free Upside app.

This app partners with gas stations, offering you cash back on every gallon you buy.

For example, a local station near me offers $0.15 cash back.

A few days after I fill up, Upside deposits my cash back into the app, and I can transfer it to my bank account.

The amount of cash back changes all the time, so you can earn a higher cash back amount.

And if you get your friends to sign up, you earn cash back every time they buy gas.

I started using the app less than a year ago and have earned over $300.

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25 Best Ways To Save On Gas

In addition to using the Upside app, you can do many other things to lower your fuel costs.

Here are your options, in no particular order.

The great thing with these options is combining as many as you want to increase your fuel savings.

#1. Compare Gas Prices

The easiest thing you can do to save money on gas is to compare fuel prices.

There are a few ways you can do this.

First, pay attention along your commute.

After a few weeks of watching prices, you will get an idea of where the cheapest gas prices are.

Another option is to use an app like GasBuddy or Gas Guru. 

Both are free to use and help you monitor local gas prices.

Use the apps for a few weeks and note the cheapest gas stations in town.

Then make it a point to purchase gas from these stations as often as possible.

Try to do so on a Monday when it comes time to fill up.

GasBuddy has done detailed research into this topic, and since 2017, Monday is when you typically find the lowest gas prices. 

#2. Get Free Gas Using Gift Cards

If the high price of gas annoys you, consider getting free gas using gift cards.

To make this solution work, you need to sign up to sites like Swagbucks and MyPoints, where you can do various tasks to earn points.

Then you turn those points into free gift cards.

You can do fun tasks, including watching videos, playing games, completing surveys, and more.

The sites are free to use, so there is zero cost to you.

When searching online for these sites, you will find a lot.

While you might want to sign up for a few, I suggest you stick to one or two. 

This is because if you focus on playing games on one site, you will accumulate points faster than if you split your time between two sites.

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#3. Scan Receipts For Gas Savings

Related to the idea above is scanning receipts.

Here you scan your grocery receipts into an app to earn points.

Earn enough points and redeem them for cash through PayPal or get free gift cards.

My favorite receipt apps are Fetch Rewards, Receipt Hog, and CoinOut. 

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And I use all three of them!

If I go shopping at Wegman’s, I scan the same receipt into each app to triple my rewards.

Over the years of scanning receipts, I’ve earned a more than $500.

coinout rewards
receipt hog rewards
swagbucks rewards

#4. Earn Supermarket Rewards

Some grocery stores’ loyalty programs allow you to redeem your rewards for discounted gas.

At my local grocery store, I can redeem the points I earn for $0.05 off per gallon.

They usually offer promotions where I can earn double, triple, or quadruple points for buying certain products.

The catch here is that these points do expire and are usually only redeemable at a specific gas station.

#5. Join Warehouse Clubs

Sam’s Club, BJs, and Costco all offer discounted gas for their members. 

These clubs tend to have the cheapest gas prices, anywhere from $0.05 to $0.25 lower than other stations in the area.

And Consumer Reports found when prices rise, the warehouse clubs are the last to raise prices too.

If you are a member of any of these places, purchasing your gas from them makes sense.

And if you aren’t a member, consider joining, not just for the cheaper gas, but also the grocery savings.

#6. Keep An Eye On Tire Pressure

Did you know that not keeping the proper tire pressure increases your fuel costs?

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, your gas mileage decreases by 0.2% for every one psi drop.

So if you have underinflated tires by 5 pounds, you are paying an extra $0.06 per gallon if gas costs $3.

Talk about wasted gas!

Not only does keeping your tires properly inflated help you get the best fuel economy, but it also helps your tires last longer, saving you even more money.

#7. Don’t Buy Premium Gas

Some might think that buying premium gas or mid-level gas offers better gas mileage because it is higher octane.

Unless your car calls explicitly for premium, you are wasting money.

The manufacturer designed the vehicle to run on regular gas, so that is what you should be filling up with at the gas station.

Finally, if your car does require the premium grade, you can offset soaring gas prices by filling up with a lower grade from time to time.

Your vehicle’s computers will adjust to the lower octane, and you won’t harm your car if you do this occasionally.

#8. Get Routine Maintenance

how much to budget for car maintenance

Paying for regular car maintenance can be annoying, and many people put it off for as long as possible.

Some people even skip it.

But this is doing more harm than good.

By not keeping your car operating at peak performance, fuel efficiency suffers, costing you money.

Also, minor problems can turn into more significant, more costly problems.

That check engine light could be as simple as a gas cap not screwed on tight enough, which won’t cost any money to fix.

But you wouldn’t know unless you get it looked at.

So as frustrating as it can be to take your car in for service, it is vital to do so.

Open up your owner’s manual and review the service schedule.

For most vehicles, the major service intervals are every 30,000 miles.

The only maintenance required between these is oil changes and tire rotations.

And don’t think you have to go to the dealer either.

Spend some time searching for local independent mechanics, as they will have a lower labor cost and may be able to get aftermarket parts to lower the service cost.

#9. Combine Errands

You get higher miles per gallon when driving on the highway because frequent stops, starts, idling, and changing speeds are inefficient. 

To help you limit stop-and-go driving, try to run all of your errands at the same time. 

While you won’t realize huge fuel savings doing this, this option is more fuel efficient than taking many short-distance trips over different days.

Additionally, if you can order things online and have them delivered, this can help you reduce the number of short trips you need to take.

#10. Change Your Drive Time

If you drive in rush hour traffic, odds are you face more stop-and-go traffic on your commute. 

These delays add up over time, costing you money on gas.

One solution is to drive at different times to help avoid these delays.

This doesn’t mean you need to drive to work at 5 am instead of 6 am.

But even leaving ten minutes earlier can make a big difference.

When I left my house just five minutes earlier, a few places where traffic used to be congested were free moving.

Take a couple of days, play around with the time you leave, and see if you can avoid some of the typical traffic.

#11. Change Your Route

If changing your commute time doesn’t result in less congestion, consider taking a different route to work.

To make this easy, you can use an app like Waze, Apple Maps, or Google Maps to plan an alternate route.

Or you could explore and see if you can find a route on your own.

I found the back way into my old job allowed me to avoid all the traffic completely.

The drive was a longer distance, but because I was on back roads driving at a steady speed with very few stops, I was getting improved fuel economy.

#12. Drive Less

I touched on this earlier, but the less you drive, the less you will spend on gas.

Try to figure out how you can drive as little as possible.

This could mean doing more shopping online and having goods delivered to you at home.

Maybe you have a co-worker that lives nearby that you can carpool with from time to time.

If you have a hybrid schedule where you work from home some days and are in the office on other days, see if you can work from home an extra day.

Finally, if you live in an area with public transportation, see if you can take advantage of this more often to reduce your gas consumption.

The more ways you can find to drive less, the higher your savings will be.

#13. Stop Wasting Gas Warming Up Or Idling

When the temperature drops, most people instinctively turn their cars on in the morning to warm them up.

Some people do this to help get the fluids running in the car, thinking it will help the car last longer.

Others do it so they can have a warm car for the drive.

Either way, you waste gas doing this, as idling costs money.

For those thinking you need to warm your car first, this is no longer the case. 

Today’s cars use computers that help them regulate fluids.

At most, you need to let your car sit for 30 seconds before you begin driving.

If you want a warm car to get into, consider just getting in when it is still cold and pressing the recirculate button along with the heat on high and the temperature at its max setting.

Doing this will heat the air inside the car and warm it up faster.

The only downside to this is you need to turn off recirculate after a while. Otherwise, your windows will fog up.

Finally, try to avoid driving as much when it is cold outside.

Cold air reduces your car’s efficiency, and as a result, you get worse mileage from every tank of gas you buy.

Save money by limiting how much you drive when it is frigid outside.

If you must drive, pay extra attention to your speed and coast as much as possible to conserve fuel.

#14. Buy An Electric Vehicle

Plug In Electric Car

While buying an electric vehicle will cost you a lot of money upfront, it will reduce your gas expenses.

The reason is that, in most cases, the cost of charging your car will be less than the cost of purchasing gas.

But as with any purchase, it will take time to realize the savings since you are paying a lot of money upfront to buy the car.

So unless you are in the market for a new car, you are best served using the other tips on this list.

Once you get to the point of needing a new vehicle, then consider an electric car.

While they tend to cost more than gas-only cars, you can bring the price down a considerable amount with tax credits.

If the price of an electric car is too much for your budget, you can save gas by buying a traditional gas-powered vehicle. 

As technology improves, these vehicles are becoming more and more fuel efficient, helping you to save money.

Finally, don’t make the mistake of buying a hybrid.

While they are more fuel efficient, helping you to reduce your fuel cost, you will save a lot more money buying an electric car.

You can see my analysis detailing why I advise against a hybrid by reading my post, are hybrids worth it.

#15. Join Rewards Programs

Many grocery stores offer loyalty programs that allow you to earn points for shopping there.

You can convert your points to discounts on grocery items or, in many cases, on savings at the local gas station.

Depending on the number of points you redeem, you could save anywhere from $0.05 to $0.50 per gallon of gas.

Additionally, many gas stations now have gas rewards programs as well.

Most offer between $0.03 and $0.05 off per gallon of gas every time you fill up.

Some of the more popular programs include the following:

  • Sunoco Go Rewards: Save $0.03 per gallon
  • Shell Fuel Rewards: Save $0.05 per gallon
  • BPme Rewards: Save $0.05 per gallon

If you regularly purchase gas at the same station or brand, consider joining the rewards program to save money.

#16. Learn The Ideal Way To Drive

Speeding up quickly after a red light or applying the brakes hard destroys your fuel efficiency and costs you added wear and tear on your car.

Learn to anticipate red lights by taking your foot off the gas pedal and allowing your car to coast to a stop.

When stepping on the gas after the light turns green, apply light pressure to the pedal and slowly increase your speed.

When you aggressively brake and speed up, you reduce your gas mileage between 10% and 40%. 

With the price of gas at $3, this comes to between $0.31 and $1.25 per gallon.

This means instead of paying $3 at the gas pump, you are paying between $3.31 and $4.25 based on how much gas you are wasting.

#17. Slow Down To Improve Fuel Economy

Driving fast also uses more fuel due to rolling and wind resistance.

For every five mph over 50 mph that you drive, you are paying an additional $0.22 per gallon on gas.

Using an example, let’s say you drive at 75 mph.

That is 25 mph more than the recommended speed, meaning you are paying an additional $1.10 per gallon.

With the price of gas at $3, this means you are effectively paying $4.10 every time you fill up.

I realize that in some cases, driving 50 mph is not possible because of the flow of traffic. 

You can still improve fuel consumption in these cases by slowing down from 75 mph to 65 mph.

Paying attention to the posted speed limit is a good gauge for how fast you should be driving. 

  • Read now: Discover how to save money on car insurance

#18. Use Cruise Control

Next time you go for a long drive, consider setting the cruise control.

When your vehicle maintains a constant speed, you improve your gas mileage compared to you controlling the speed.

This is because you are unlikely to be able to maintain a constant speed.

As you drive, your foot constantly pushes harder or lighter on the gas pedal.

And while this might not seem like a big deal, studies show it can reduce consumption by 5-7%.

There are caveats, however.

Cruise control is best when driving on mostly flat highways or highways where you go uphill or downhill for a prolonged period.

If you are driving on hilly terrain, constantly going up and down, you are better off taking control yourself.

In this driving environment, you want to allow your vehicle to slow down when going up hills by reducing the pressure on the gas pedal.

When going down hills, also take your foot off the gas and allow the car’s momentum to increase your speed.

I have a Chrysler Pacifica and found that on my main highway drive on hilly terrain, I achieved better fuel economy than when I set my cruise control.

#19. Reduce Weight As Much As Possible

There is a law of physics that says force equals mass times acceleration. 

Your car consumes more gas when it needs more power.

And it needs more energy when there is excess weight.

So take an hour this weekend and clean your trunk and back seat of everything you don’t need.

Doing so will instantly improve your gas mileage.

#20. Use Aerodynamics To Improve Fuel Efficiency

Car manufacturers spend tens of thousands of dollars in research to improve the fuel efficiency of their vehicles. 

The shape of the car is because of this research.

When you add things like roof racks and trunk spoilers, you reduce the efficiency of your vehicle as the air cannot flow as smoothly around it.

More wind resistance means your car has to work harder to move, which means you spend more on gas.

While you need a bike rack or roof rack for your big family vacation, removing these items is critical once your trip is over.

It might be a hassle to have to remove them, but the convenience of keeping them installed costs you a fortune in the long run.

#21. Use Air Conditioning

There has been great debate over the years as to whether using the air conditioner or rolling down your windows saves money.

The thinking was that rolling your windows down was the smarter option since the air conditioner uses gas.

If you have an older car, chances are keeping your windows down will result in better fuel economy.

However, using AC is the smarter choice if you have a modern car.

First, as mentioned above, car manufacturers spend money to reduce drag.

When your windows are open, you increase drag, resulting in poor fuel mileage at highway speeds.

Second, climate control systems today are advanced. 

You set a temperature, and the system cycles on and off based on that number.

In the past, when you put the AC on ice cold at full blast, it stayed there until you turned it down.

When you set the temperature at 65 degrees in a newer car, it turns off or down once it reaches that temperature.

So if you have a newer car, use the air conditioning to save gas.

#22. Pay With Cash

money

Next time you buy gas, see if the gas station offers a discount when you pay cash.

This discount can amount to $0.05 or more per gallon.

Before you fill up, be sure to ask if they offer a cash discount.

On a 10-gallon fill-up, that savings comes to $0.50. If you get gas weekly for a year, you save $26.

Combine this with some of the other tips listed, and these savings add up to even more.

#23. Use A Cash Back Rewards Credit Card

If paying in cash is too much trouble, there is another option.

You can use a cash back credit card.

The one I use gets me a 3% reward. 

For every dollar I spend on gas, I save $0.03.

My average fill-up is around $65, so I save $1.95 each time using my credit card to pay.

You can click the link below to find the best card to use on gas purchases.

Alternatively, if you always buy the same brand of gas, consider getting that brand’s gas credit card, as this will allow you to achieve the most significant savings. 

For example, with the Sunoco credit card, you save $0.50 per gallon for 30 days, then $0.05 on every gallon.

Combine this with their free rewards program, and you can save $0.08 per gallon.

If you decide to use a rewards credit card, make sure you pick on that doesn’t charge an annual fee, as this will eat away at any of your gas savings.

Finally, I advise against using a debit card to pay for gas.

The reason is that thieves are increasingly using gas pumps to steal your identity.

They install a credit card reader, and when you insert your card, they capture your information and can begin spending.

With a credit card, any unauthorized charges will get removed, costing you nothing.

But with a debit card, that money is gone from your checking account until the bank completes its investigation.

This could take months.

Because of this, I recommend either paying cash or using a credit card when buying gas.

#24. Pay Attention

When you are out running errands, be on the lookout for who has the best prices.

You may find that a station not along your regular route has cheaper gas.

Also, when traveling, know that gas stations near highway exits tend to charge more for gas.

Take an extra 10 minutes and drive into town for a lower gas price.

#25. Get Gas Assistance

If you have a low income, you can reach out to local charities to get free gas.

You can reach out to local churches, the Salvation Army, United Way, and more.

Some of these charities will offer you a gas voucher so you can afford to purchase gas.

If they don’t have vouchers to offer, most can point you in the direction of where to go for help.

Final Thoughts

There are many things you can do to save money on gas.

The key is to start with the easy things first and add more ideas over time.

Don’t rush out and buy a new car if you don’t need one, as you will be paying a lot to save a smaller amount.

Instead, use the Upside app, take better care of your vehicle, and drive with better mileage in mind and you will see your monthly gas bill shrink.

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