For the last few years, Americans have enjoyed relative ease at the gas pump, but those days may be numbered thanks to many global factors. After gas prices fell due to the economic instability of the pandemic, rates are now tricking back up due to February’s deep freeze. The subzero weather forced many of the Gulf Coast’s refineries to shut down so now crude oil production is behind schedule.
With rising optimism in vaccines, people will also look at traveling again, putting gas in high demand. So what’s a guy or gal to do this summer if you’re looking to do some cruising? Well, we’ve prepared some tips to save you some money at the pumps.
1. Download a gas price app
Apps like GasBuddy and Waze have saved divers a pretty penny over the years! Just like any commodity, if you want to save money on gas you need to shop around. The worst feeling is filling up only to find a gas station down the street with cheaper fuel. Instead of driving around looking for the cheapest gas, apps save you the legwork by pulling up the latest data.
“People think that the difference between $2.00 and $2.21 is not that much,” says Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy. “But if they are buying 20 gallons every week, the savings add up fast.”
Also, another piece of advice is to avoid gas stations just off the highway or in the middle of major cities. These pumps tend to charge more than other places that are a bit more out of the way. You can also check out gas prices in your area via AAA.
3. Sign up for a rewards program
Many chain gas stations offer rewards programs for return customers. These rewards come in the form of cheaper gas but may require some annual fees so make sure to do the math and see if they’re worth it. Also if you shop at a big box store like Sam’s Club or Costco be sure to utilize your discounts at the pump there! According to AAA Costco pumps are lower than the national average!
4. Fill up early in the week
According to data compiled from GasBuddy gas prices are lowest on Mondays and Tuesdays between 10 am and noon. Also be sure to avoid filling up on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays when prices are at their highest.
5. Skip the premium option
Now unless you drive a luxury or high-performance car like a BMW or Corvette, you can probably skip the premium option at the pump. Though the high octane fuel is beneficial, most cars don’t need premium fuel to get from point A to point B. If you’re not sure what type of fuel to use on your vehicle simply check the owner’s manual or your gas cap. Premium gas can cost about 20 to 40 cents per gallon more than regular-grade fuel.
6. Obey the speed limit
This one may be a given but the number one way to save money while driving is to avoid tickets. But following the speed limit or driving just under it can pay off in more ways than you might think. The faster you drive, the more wind resistance you face, which reduces your fuel economy.
7. Pay with cash
Remember paper money? Well, most gas stations will charge you less for gas if you pay with either cash or sometimes your debit card instead of credit. This is because it allows the gas station to waive the card processing fees.