As gas prices skyrocket, experts weigh in on 7 ways to save money at gas stations

save money on gas

In the first quarter of 2022, gas prices were raised due to supply restrictions and increased consumption as the US economy continued to gain momentum. The war in Ukraine only exacerbated fears of depleted oil reserves, and gas prices skyrocketed, with San Francisco becoming the first US city to hit $5 a gallon.

That latest data from Patrick De Haan, an oil analyst at GasBuddy, suggests the pump continues to hurt. He expects U.S. gas prices to continue rising throughout the spring, with full-year averages of $4, surpassing all previous records.

However, as prices rise, there is an opportunity to save significantly on fuel costs. We talked to experts about the seven best ways to save on gas.

1. Drive responsibly

Responsible driving may not seem like the most exciting way to save money on gas, but it has proven to be effective. Before you think about hitting the accelerator hard or changing lanes, think literally about the cost. According to financial expert Andrew Scott, careful driving can save up to 38% on fuel costs.

Scott says: “One of the most important things to do when driving for fuel economy is to accelerate slowly. Do not press the pedal as soon as the green light comes on. Also, if you know you’re about to stop at a red light, don’t continue at your current speed and stop abruptly. Start slowly decelerating in the distance.” With just a few changes to your driving habits, you can save hundreds of dollars a year at the gas station.

2. Price shop where you get your gas

Have you ever filled up your tank and then driven away only to find that the price is ten cents a gallon at the next gas station down the street? Comparing fuel prices can lead to significant savings, and several apps can make the process easier.

Taylor Palmer, who is constantly on the road in her recreational vehicle, highly recommends GasBuddy to shop for prices. She says, “We often find a $0.20 per gallon price difference at stations that are only a couple of blocks apart. Over the last year of using GasBuddy, we’ve saved about $800 just by using the app to find cheaper stations. The more expensive gas in your area, the greater the savings.”

3. Keep your car in good condition

Routine vehicle maintenance is another area to look at if you want to improve fuel efficiency and save money, says Michael Melwick of Moto Transportation, a transportation company. “Making sure your car is in good condition will help it run more efficiently and save fuel. This includes regular adjustments, clean air filters, properly inflated tires, and proper levels of oil and other fluids.”

Melwick notes that maintaining the correct tire pressure is an easy way to improve fuel efficiency and increase fuel consumption by up to three percent. “You can find the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle in your owner’s manual or on a sticker inside the driver’s side door.”

4. Take advantage of cashback offers

Andrea Voroh, consumer savings expert, recommends using a discounted gas credit card and other cashback apps to get your fuel money back. “View and compare gas discount cards to find the one that works best for your spending habits.” She notes that many offer up to 5% refunds at gas stations, as well as additional rewards. If you add this on top of a cashback app like GetUpside, you can save a significant amount of change on every deposit.

5. Plan to fill up early in the week

Did you know that gas prices usually go down at the beginning of the week? According to Dan Nelson, personal finance blogger, “On average, Monday is the busiest day to fill your tank, and the national average peaks on Friday. GasBuddy has done several studies on the subject, one of which shows savings of $50 to $100 a year by refueling on Monday alone.”

Monday has a bad reputation as a scary first day of work after the weekend, but it can redeem itself by putting money back in passengers’ pockets.

6. Know when to use conditioner

Common sense says that turning off the air conditioner and lowering the windows will save fuel. However, with the increasing efficiency of modern vehicles, this is not always the case.

Self-proclaimed “thrift fanatic” Hillary Swetz has done research and notes a study done by the Society of Automotive Engineers to determine whether it’s better to use air conditioning or roll down windows in terms of gas mileage. “They found that if you’re driving under 40 mph, roll down your windows. If you drive even faster, you create more drag on your car and use a lot more gas with the windows down, so use the air conditioner at higher speeds.”

7. Sharing cars or leaving the car altogether

Admittedly, getting rid of your car is the last resort to save money on gas. However, it can also save you a huge amount of money on car bills, maintenance, fuel, and insurance costs.

Ravi Davda, CEO of Rockstar Marketing, had an accident with his car and planned to replace it when he returned from vacation in a few weeks. It turns out that he decided that he likes the absence of a car in the interim. “With gas prices like this, I don’t think I can or will ever want to go back to owning a car (or two cars!). It may sound crazy, but it’s a great way to save money,” he says.

While not everyone can give up their car, you can take steps to cut down on your overall car usage by commuting or combining trips. Davda urges car owners to at least think about the costs and benefits. He continues, “Even if you can’t completely get rid of your car, could you switch to one? That’s still a huge savings every month.”

Gas Saving Tips to Beat Inflation

When the whole world is feeling inflation and rising oil prices, these seven expert tips will help you regain control of your budget when it comes to transportation costs. Even implementing just a few steps, such as comparing gas prices at a store in your area within two minutes, can result in significant savings in the long run.

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Featured Image Credit: Unsplash.

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