Save at the Pump – Cutting down when you fill up!

Gas price retail chart
YOWZA!!
With summer just around the corner have you been seeing an increase in gas prices where you live? I always notice this little uptick in price right before prime vacation times (which is just rude). If prices get much higher we may need to revisit some summer plans because I almost need to take out a loan to fill our Suburban every week! Prices here are slowly creeping up to $3 a gallon! For a 30 gallon tank in “the burb”… this is NOT cheap and makes my stomach turn every time we have to fill up that beast.
I know we can’t be the only ones faced with this issue so I did a little digging and found some great tips on how to help ease the burden at the pump.
Drive Less – Or at least more efficiently
This may seem obvious, but when we are used to just jumping in the car and running a quick errand we may have to change that thought process just a little with prices on the rise. Maybe save your errands for one day and map out the most efficient route so you do not end up backtracking. This will take a little more planning, but if you could cut out one or two days of driving each week all together that could save bunch!

Buy Gas Early in the Day – Timing is everything
I learned this when we lived in Vegas. Buy gas early in the morning especially in the summer. The gas itself is cooler earlier in the day making it more dense. You end up getting a little more bang for your buck this way. If you live somewhere that actually cools down at night, you can fill up then as well. Avoid getting gas when temps are at their peak because as temperatures rise, gas density falls and you get less of it when you pump. Thank you science!

Buy Gas Early in the Week
Prices rise towards the mid to late days of the week. Plan on heading to the pump Sunday, Monday or Tuesday for the best deals. Stations tend to raise prices as the week progresses – very sneaky.

 

Slow and Steady Wins at the Pump
I’m really going to sound like your mom here, but keep it slow on the road! The faster you drive it will increase drag on the car and causes you to burn more fuel (yeah! More science!). Focus on driving at or just below the speed limit, driving smoothly, and not breaking or accelerating too quickly and you will be using your gas more efficiently.

Care for Your Car
  • Make sure you have enough air in the tires. This will improve your gas mileage by 0.6% on average—up to 3% in some cases.
  • Get the junk out of the trunk. Lighten your load to squeeze a few more miles out of your tank.
  • Is it time for a tune-up? Take your car in for a yearly checkup, make sure you are changing the oil regularly, and make sure you are using the right oil for your car.
Shop Gas Stations.
If you are planning your errand days, add a little extra planning for your gas run. This will give you the time to shop around for the best prices at different gas stations. Stations close to a freeway exit will tend to be higher because the demand is higher and most people just want to fill up and jump back on the highway and be on their way. You can check out a few apps to find the cheapest station near your home to save a few more bucks.
  • Gas Buddy – This app will show you the prices of all the gas stations in your area. There is also a trip calculator to help you budget for those summer vacations.
  • Gas Guru – Similar to Gas Buddy, but Gas Guru allows you to save some of your favorite locations.
  • Waze Navigation – You might have used this app to notify you of traffic issues (or police presence), but did you know it has a gas price finder as well?
Rewards Programs – Grocery & Gas
Here’s a fun trick on how you can save on gas while saving on your groceries… Just like most of your grocery or drug stores, some gas stations also have rewards programs. For example, Speedway here in Ohio gives us every 7th soda free, and we often receive freebies like a free Gatorade or hot dog or something. All we had to do was sign up, and scan our card every time we shop. Between myself, my husband, and our teens using the same rewards account, we get a LOT of free fountain drinks :). Most gas station rewards will also offer you cents off gallons of gas. Every little bit helps so why not take advantage!
If you have the added bonus of having a grocery store program that ALSO gives you points or cents off at the pump when you buy groceries, you might want to focus on shopping those stores for the next few months. Little hint: Don’t waste your points on a half tank. Some rewards have limits on gallons of gas that can be discounted. Make sure you know the rules.
BUDGET! 
You will really win this summer if you budget accordingly. Hopefully, you already have a good idea of how often you need to fill up. Try going to the pump more frequently and not when your gas light comes on. Also, make sure you have that money set aside specifically for gasoline.
BONUS TIP!! 
I LOVE to buy gas cards at the grocery stores when the stores offer money back or bonus points for buying gift cards. Have you ever seen that deal? This is a great way to keep your gas money set aside. It is also a great way to maybe get some free grocery money if you get those cards at the right time. I want to be clear… I do NOT want you getting a gas credit card! Buy a gift card to your favorite gas station and when the money runs out, it runs out. It may force you to follow a few of these tips and stick to your budget, but it will be worth it not going in debt over fuel.
I hope there are at least a few tips you can put in place to start saving at the pump. Of course, you can also just save a bunch of money and buy a new hybrid or electric car :). I hear the new Tesla is pretty amazing (right, Dad?).
Have fun planning your summer! Let me know if you have any more great tips for saving at the pump!
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