21 Smart Ways to Save Money on Gas

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How much money do you spend on gasoline each month? Most of us don’t even know, and we therefore also have no idea if we’re using gas excessively. I think that every single one of us can find smart ways to save money on gas by implementing just a few of the tips below:

ways to save money on gas1) Buy a Fuel Efficient Car

This one is kind of a no-brainer. If you want to get better gas mileage than your current 20 mpg, then why not just buy a different car that gets an average of 30 mpg? Sounds simple, but it’s not always that easy. If you’re thinking about going this route, be sure to consider these factors so that you don’t end up wasting even more money with a “better” car:

  • How fast will this car depreciate in value? I always encourage people to buy a car that’s at least 4 years old to avoid steep depreciation
  • Will your insurance costs go up?
  • Is it reliable? What do the consumer reports say about it?
  • Is it expensive to fix if something goes wrong?

If you’re looking for ways to save money on gas, finding a car with better gas mileage is a great option, but just be sure to look at all the factors to see if you’ll actually be saving money in the long run.

Related Article: Top 10 Cars for Digging Your Way Out of Debt

2) Drive Less

If you really sit down and think about it, I bet you could drive a lot less frequently than you do today. And obviously, if you drive less, then you’ll save a heck of a lot of money on gas. Be sure to consider these options when you’re thinking about how to drive less often:

  • Carpool with co-workers
  • Combine trips when running errands (best to do on the way home from work)
  • Avoid hopping in your car to buy something if it isn’t urgent or important
  • Ride your bike
  • Walk

3) Avoid Gas Stations Near Busy Highways

This is a simple matter of supply and demand. The gas stations that are near the highways have a higher demand than those that are a few miles off the beaten track. Therefore, they can charge an extra 10 cents a gallon without losing much business. This is one of the easiest ways to save money on gas – just avoid those highway gas stations.

ways to save money on gas4) Don’t Get Close to Empty

This somewhat pairs with #3. You don’t ever want to force yourself into an expensive situation. If you constantly run your fuel down near empty, then you’ll be at the mercy of whatever gas station is nearby.

If it’s near a highway or it’s a big recognizable chain, then you’ll probably be paying more for your gas than you need to. When you drain your tank below a quarter, it’s time to start looking for a reasonably priced gas station.

5) Stop Excessively Warming Up Your Car

Yes, you might have a car starter and can power up your vehicle at the click of a button, but how long does your car need to run before it’s ready to hit the road? It’s not the typical 5 minutes or more that many often suggest. The time needed to warm up today’s vehicles is only 30 seconds. Any longer than that and you’re just wasting fuel.

6) Drive Smoothly

Are you a lead-foot on take-offs? Do you ride too close to the car in front of you? Are you hard on your brakes? Not only are these actions hard on your car, but they’re also costing you quite a lot of gas. If you want your fuel to last longer, then you’ll want to accelerate slowly, keep a constant speed whenever possible, and brake only when necessary.

7) Scout Out The Cheapest Station Near You

Gas prices are surprisingly volatile. Some stations charge $2.49, while another station just a half-mile away could charge only $2.38. If you want to constantly get the best prices, download an app like GasBuddy. Or, if you don’t want to consult your phone every time you need gas, then just force yourself to learn two things:

  • Which gas station is consistently cheaper than all the others?
  • If gas prices skyrocket, which station is typically the last one to raise their prices?

One of the best ways to save money on gas is to learn the habits of the gas stations around you. By learning just the two questions above, you could easily save yourself a dollar on every fill-up!

ways to save money on gas - gas buddy

8) Replace Filters When Necessary

Filters are important for your vehicle. They keep debris and sediment from entering your car’s system, which keeps your car running smoothly day after day. But, if you don’t ever replace your filters, they’ll fill up with dirt and make it more difficult for your car to operate, which might be costing you in gas. Check your air filter on your car. It’s easy to replace and it’ll probably only cost you $15. Over a few months’ time, you should easily recoup this cost in fuel efficiency alone.

save money on gas - oil9) Keep Your Car Lubricated

So what are some more ways to save on gas? Basically, you just want to make sure your engine is running as smoothly as possible. One of the best ways to do this is to keep your car filled with oil so each part can easily move without added effort. Check your oil once a month to make sure it’s well lubricated.

10) Monitor Your Tire Pressure

It’s surprising how much your tire pressure can hinder your gas mileage when you’re out there on the road – reports show that the impact can be as much as 7% for under-inflated tires! In other words, when your tires aren’t as hard as they should be, they are creating enough additional drag to reduce your fuel efficiency by 7%. Instead of paying $50 at the pump each time, you’ll have to shell out $53.50. That can definitely add up! One of the ways to save money on gas? Check your tire pressure and be sure to keep them inflated at the recommended amounts!

11) Be Sure Your Tires Are Properly Aligned

When you drive down a straight, flat road, do you still feel your car pull one way or the other? If yes, then your tires are not properly aligned to your car. And, if your car is constantly fighting itself down the road, then you know you’re not getting your optimal gas mileage. One of the recommended ways to save money on gas is to get your car tires aligned. This might cost $60 or so, but at an additional $2 per fill up (estimate), your investment could pay off in just a few months!

ways to save money on gas - tune ups12) Get Your Regular Tune-ups

If you don’t want to have to think about all the details of the air filter, the oil levels, the alignment, or any other factor that might cause your car to run inefficiently, then I would recommend that you just head to your local dealer and get a tune-up once in a while. I take my old Civic into my nearby Honda dealer every 3 months or so. They change the oil, check all the fluids, check the tire wear and pressure, and they even wash it for me – all for $30! If your dealership can do this for you, then I would say that it’s well worth the cost.

13) Have a Solid Gas Cap

I can’t say that I ever really thought about this one, but it’s certainly true! An estimated 17% of all cars on the road have either a cracked gas cap or it’s missing entirely! This means that while you’re driving, you’re loosing some of your fuel vapor, which is obviously costing you money. One of the quickest ways to save money on gas is to check your gas cap.

14) Slow Down

I found this one hard to believe, but FuelEconomy.gov confirmed it. One of the absolute smartest, most effective ways to save money on gas is to simply slow down. Every mile-per-hour you drive over 50 mph is costing you money. In fact, if you drive 50 mph instead of 60 mph, you’ll save yourself roughly 15% on gas. Instead of dishing out $50 at your next fill-up, you’ll only need to pay $42.50. That’s a big difference!

15) Stop Two-Foot Driving

I still can’t believe it when I see it, but some people actually do still drive with two feet. They use their left foot for the brake and their right foot for the gas. Inevitably, this leads to accidental brake pressure while accelerating (I see this once in a while where people are actually speeding up with the brake lights on), which is obviously killing your gas mileage. If you’re looking for ways to save money on gas, then stop driving with two feet already! Goodness…

16) Reduce the Weight of Your Car

When I was a teenager, I used to play every sport you could think of, and just in case I had the opportunity to presented itself I wanted to be ready. So, I basically decided to house a sporting goods store in the trunk of my car. Literally, I had golf clubs, golf shoes, a tennis racket, tennis shoes, a basketball, a football, baseball bats, baseballs, a baseball glove, a frisbee, and some other odds and ends I’m sure. With all of this equipment, I probably had an extra 75 lbs with me ALL.THE.TIME.

The more weight you have in your car, the worse your gas mileage will be.

17) Don’t Idle – Turn the Car Off

Have you ever heard that it takes more fuel to start your car than it does if you just sit and idle for a few minutes? This is a complete myth. If you’re going to idle for more than 10 seconds, then it makes more sense to turn your car off and then start it back up when you need to.

18) Monitor the Rise and Fall of Gas Prices

Have you ever noticed that the price of gas has a bit of a pattern to it? The chart below shows the average price per gallon of gas in Grand Rapids, MI over the past 3 months. After looking at the graph for just a few seconds, what do you notice that happens soon after the price spikes? Right – it starts to slide down again. Since we’re no longer letting our gas tank hover on empty, we can wait a couple of days if we see the prices spike. Depending on the slide, we could save ourselves quite a lot of money just by waiting!

ways to save money on gas - gas price trend

19) Reduce Wind Resistance

Car manufacturers spend a lot of time putting their car through wind tunnel tests, and it’s not because they’re passionate about seeing that white line of air on the car either… It’s because a sleeker car is helping them reach optimal fuel efficiency rates! If they care about wind resistance, then you really should too – after all, you are the consumer.

So, if you’re looking for ways to save money on gas, take that roof rack off your car when you’re not using it and don’t ride around with the windows open all the time. Keep your car sleek and your wallet will thank you.

20151009 - ways to save money on gas - gas gift card20) Use Your Gas Cards or Buy Used

TowerGroup performed a study a couple years ago. From 2005 to 2013, there were $41 billion worth of gift cards that were looming out there in the market unused… That’s right. People would gift others with gift cards and the recipients either lost them, threw them away, or just never got around to using them. If you have gas cards sitting around your house somewhere, for goodness sakes, use them!

If you absolutely love gift cards and are looking for ways to save money on gas, then I would encourage you to buy used gas cards. You can find these on Ebay, Craigslist, or select gift card sites that sell gift cards for less than the face value.

Want to win a $25 Sunoco Gas Gift Card? Leave a comment below about one of your favorite ways to save money on gas, and I’ll pick a winner at random on Wednesday, October 14th. Good luck!

21) Partner With a Gas Station for a Consistent Discount

If you’re comfortable adding another credit card to your wallet, then take a look at cards (like a Sunoco Gas Credit Card) that offer a discount just for using the card. Heck, if they’re typically the cheapest gas station anyway and they have one near you, then you may as well tack on an extra discount. Just be sure to use the card responsibly of course.

So what is one of your favorite ways to save money on gas? Remember to comment below for your chance to win the $25 gas gift card!

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Money Save Money

Derek

AUTHOR Derek

My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.

13 Comments

  1. Play the “Light Game” and adjust your speed to cruise on through! (And thanks for all your great advice!)

    • I like it! It’s awesome when those lights are timed – and then I shake my head at the people that rush up to it so fast that they have to stop and go the whole drive. People…. 😉

  2. Great article! Also, congrats for being named one of the best blogs on rockstarfinance.com!

    • Thanks Julie! That was pretty awesome to see. 🙂

  3. I drive a manual transmission and that allows for lots of coasting in neutral, which I love to do! Also, take your foot off the gas the minute you realize you’re going to have to slow down or stop. My husband accelerates toward red lights all the time and it drives me nuts!

    • I do the same Anne. If there’s no one behind me, I’ll coast to unbelievably low speeds to avoid rushing up to the red light (that’s one of my pet peaves too!).

  4. When running several errands, I plan my route so I don’t back track. I plan my stops to make a circuit so I’m not driving up and down the same street. I also try to group the errands so that I just go to one part of town instead of driving all over.

    • Very nice Kathy. Sounds like you’re a real planner. We’re the best kind of people, you know! 😉

  5. Great article Derek, my favorite was to save money on gas is with my local grocery store fuel points. Each month for every $100 spent at Fry’s (Kroger) I get 10 cents off gas. You can use up to a $1 discount at a time. Gas is going down quite a bit here in Arizona. Happy to report most stations are right around $1.95 a gallon now. Whoo Hoo!!

    • Just make sure you’re not overpaying in groceries to save an extra $2.00 on gas! I know a lot of people that do this. But – through Kroger, I would think you’re getting some pretty good buys as well.

    • Oh, and I’m way jealous to hear about your gas prices. We’re still hovering around $2.35. Boooo.

  6. Something too, is the fuel you get isn’t what it used to be. Pay attention to your vehicle. If, after filling up, it starts to not run well, its probably “cheap” fuel. Don’t use them again. Fuel that is not at its best harms internals therefore making it more expensive in the long run.
    All fuel leaves a certain amount of deposits in your fuel system. Every 5000 miles its a good idea to run an additive that will help clean your injectors/fuel system. You can find many different types (I prefer Lucas). It does help and can increase fuel mileage and prolong the life of your parts. (another $ saver)

    • Good point Whiskey. There is definitely a difference between good gas and bad gas. Pay attention to the way your car runs after you fill up. Thanks for the extra tip!


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