Frugal Living, Personal Finance 

7 Ways to Save Money on Gas

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Antique Imperial Gas PumpIt’s been a busy few weeks in the Middle East. Protests around the region are threatening regimes, and that is leading to possible instability in terms of oil supply. Indeed, violence in Libya has prompted some oil companies to evacuate non-essential personnel and their families. With investors — and others — increasing worried about the supply lines out of the Middle East, it is no surprise that oil prices are on the way up.

Predictions are coming in that we will see $3.50 for gas this summer, and Fortune is reporting that the U.S. government believes that there is a 1-in-10 chance that $4.00 gas is on tap for summer. So, what can you do about this? Gas prices are probably going to affect your personal economy — and soon.

Things You Can Do to Save Money on Gas

When it comes to pinching pennies on gasoline use, there are some things you can do to reduce the amount of fuel your car is using. Here are some things to try:

  1. Properly maintain your car: A maintained car burns less fuel. Keep your engine tuned up, inflate your tires to their recommended level and make sure your car is in good condition. Taking good care of your car not only helps it last longer, but makes it more fuel efficient.
  2. Slow down: It may be tedious to drive 55 mph instead of 65 mph (or, in my state, 65 mph instead of 75 mph), but it will save your gas. The same is true of making fast starts. Instead of exerting your car with jerkiness, work toward smooth acceleration.
  3. Stop warming up the car: A minute is all your car needs to warm up (although you might need longer). You can save fuel by reducing your car’s warm up time and just toughing it out.
  4. Plan your errands: Plan your errands so that you do them all on one day, rather than making multiple trips. Create an efficient route that gets things done quickly, and with as few left turns as can be managed.
  5. Purchase lower-grade octane: Check your manufacturer’s recommendations and get the lowest grade octane gas you can. It’s cheaper, saving you more at the pump.
  6. Look for discounts on gas: You can also look for the lowest-priced gas. There are apps and web sites that can help you locate the lowest-priced gas. Additionally, you can find out which stations offer cash discounts. Look for gas stations with grocery store agreements. I get up to 20 cents off each gallon of gas (at a station with low prices to begin with) when I buy groceries at a certain store.
  7. Consider hoofing it: One of the best ways to save money on gas is to avoid using it when possible. Consider walking, biking or using public transportation when practical. Not only will you save money on gas, but you will develop a healthy habit that can save you money on medical costs down the road.

With some planning, and a little creativity, it is possible to save money on gas. You might even consider running a cost analysis to see if the gas savings (and other savings) would be enough to justify purchasing a vehicle that is more gas efficient, whether it is a smaller car or motorized scooter that uses less fuel, or a hybrid (although oil-based electricity could cost you in utility hikes for plug-ins).

What do you do to save money on gas?

(Photo: robbn1)

{ 38 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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38 Responses to “7 Ways to Save Money on Gas”

  1. cubiclegeoff says:

    you could add changing your work schedule. If you have to drive, if you can adjust your schedule so you spend less time in traffic you will waste less fuel. Or you can try to work from home more often.

  2. Joe says:

    #8 Anticipate stop lights. If you see a light turning red or a red light, take your foot off the gas and coast up to the light. If the turns red, your vehicle is already moving. This saves on tires as well.
    #9 Accelerate slowly: Gradually accelerate up to the desired speed this saves gas!

  3. Marilyn says:

    Car pool, trip combine, walk, bike. 🙂

    I also just read that if you top off, the gas from the top off mainly evaporates and is a total waste of money. I’ve never done this but I used it to convince my husband to stop topping off too.

  4. HedgeHoncho says:

    For ever $100 you spend on groceries at Giant, you get 10 cents off a gallon at shell.

  5. Jeremy says:

    Or just buy oil ETFs and make profit that will offset higher prices at the pump. 😉

  6. Courtney says:

    I am getting a once-a-week teleworking agreement approved in April. While my primary motivation was time and convenience rather than cost, it will also save me 1.75 gallons of gas a week – that’s about $25-30 a month at $3.50/gallon!

  7. Sun says:

    Albertsons supermarket ran buy $100 worth of gift cards for $20 grocery coupon. We bought $2000 worth of arco and shell gas cards. We got $20 x 20 in grocery coupons. The manager was nice enough to give us a $400 albertsons grocery card instead of having to make 20 visits. We stocked up on toilet paper, cleaning supplies, bathroom stuff, some cereal, some meats. It’s not saving directly on gas but if you can shift your costs that’s another way. We also used our chase card and got 5% back on “groceries” but your mileage may vary on that as some card companies got hip to gift cards at supermarkets.

    • Sun says:

      They’ve run this special around OCt-nov at least for the last two years

    • Strebkr says:

      Giant Eagle in the Ohio/Penn region has a similar deal. Buy giftcards, get free gas. The bottom of the receipt keeps track on a rolling 12 month basis. Mine says I have earned 2,180 in gas last year.

  8. Ben says:

    I drive a VW Tdi that has been converted to run on used vegetable oil. I get the oil for free, or at most $1/gallon, then a quick filtering, and I’m off. Not to mention the 35-45 mpg I get anyway.

  9. skylog says:

    the amazing thing to me is that, yes, events have taken place that could/should raise the price; however, it is the sheer speed and scale of the increases that is amazing to me.

    a very timely article.

  10. zapeta says:

    I save gas by walking or taking the bus every day. I generally only drive on weekends and then primarily for errands.

  11. Nien Chang says:

    what about hedging with oil stocks? If oil is staying at $100 or going beyond, for sure majors like Exxon and Chevron are going up, and small caps will be making major moves.

    • Strebkr says:

      Crude prices compared to stock prices are not always correlated. That would be purely speculation.

      I don’t think buying BP stock awhile back would have been a good call just because gas prices were going up. Those stockholders took a beating.

      • Nien Chang says:

        You make speculating sound like a dirty word, but if you do even a modest amount of research, you can pick some pretty undervalued plays out there. Look at the share prices of some small caps today like ATPG, SGY, WTR, AXAS, KOG. A lot of people are satisfied with an annualized 1-2% return on a CD, yet you could’ve made 3-5% alone today simply by “speculating” and closing out a position in 1-2 days

        • Strebkr says:

          Haha, sorry to come off like that. Maybe what I should have said was speculation without doing the research is a bad idea. Honestly, I hear people pick up tips like this and just run with it without ever doing any research.

          I guess the point I was making was just to know what you are getting into. Its not as simple as crude up, stocks up.

  12. Shirley says:

    gas prices are usually higher in the typical summer vacation months. If possible, we make those trips in May or October.

    • Strebkr says:

      Kids being out of school drives most of the summer vacations. For the small increase of maybe .80 cents a gallon, I’d rather not pull my kids out of school for a week.

      • Shirley says:

        I don’t have any kids in school anymore at 69 years old… LOL! But your thinking is certainly right on and I would never have pulled a child out of school for a vacation.

        • Strebkr says:

          Now from the kids point of view, they would say GREAT! I know I did when my parents pulled me out for a few days back when I was in school. We went to Disney in the offseason. They saved a ton, so I can’t blame them. I must have gotten my frugalness from them.

  13. There are lots of credit cards that give 5% back on gas purchases. As HedgeHoncho mentioned, the Kroger family of groceries has the $.10 per gallon discount on their gas and Shell when you buy $100 in groceries. When I combine these two, I get a pretty nice discount!

  14. jimmy says:

    Call me a stick in the mud, but there’s nothing new here.

    • Strebkr says:

      Yea, its mostly always like that. Its just making people aware of whats out there. Even though you read these suggestions, have you gone out and done them all?

  15. paul says:

    any one ever ride a bicycle to go to the store?

  16. eric says:

    Gas is almost over $4 here…ouch!

  17. Strebkr says:

    Does anyone use I will recommend it on your phone for this basic reason. I drive one of 3 ways to and from work every day. If I know I need gas I can bring it up on the phone and it automatically shows the lowest 10 prices around me. Most of the time I can save myself 10-20 cents if I use it to choose the right way home if I need a fill up.

    • Strebkr says:

      Oh and I forgot to mention, Gasbuddy works by people reporting the current prices. So if you drive by a station that is really cheap, do everyone else a favor and report it. It takes 5 seconds.

  18. yephi says:

    “Check your manufacturer’s recommendations and get the lowest grade octane gas you can. It’s cheaper, saving you more at the pump.”

    Good idea.

    It is never a good idea to use high octane fuel if your car is designed for regular. Higher octane fuel burns at lower temperatures and will cause residue buildup in your engine if it is rated for regular fuel. You will also get lower MPG and bad engine performance if you use fuel that your engine was not designed for.

    Premium fuel is for engines with higher compression ratios.

  19. You have some good tips. A couple of others include:
    -keep tires properly inflated.
    -If driving highway speeds, keep windows up and use a/c only if you must.
    -if driving city speeds, it is cheaper to open the window rather than use the a/c.

  20. Great article. Investing some money now to make sure your car is running well will prevent greater expenses later on. Remember, the cheap man ends up paying more in the end. Frugality is important, but we sometimes see people being cheap and not maintaining their cars properly (thinking that they are saving money), only to get hammered with big repair bills and headaches in the end.

    We use a product called SeaFoam on our cars. At the risk of sounding like SeaFoam salesman, SeaFoam is a great product. It’s like Cheveron’s Techron, but a lot better. Its a little more expensive, but it really helps clean and maintain your engine and fuel system and it’s very easy to do.
    Check out the SeaFoam website here

    And click on the name above to visit our new website/blog for some great info on money management, small business, and successful living. We could use your support.

  21. BettyLaVerne says:

    tX for the gas savings tips.
    But, I want to know if i have been using premium gas, and my car doesn’t need it, Can I switch now that I have been using premium for years??

  22. scrimpy says:

    empty your trunk, reduce weight

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