Gas prices are going up and up, hitting an all-time high in the United States with the national average for gasoline up to $4 per gallon for the first time since 2008. And as if that didn’t hit your wallet hard enough, analysts are predicting prices at the pump could reach as high as $7 a gallon!
Americans across the country are looking for ways to save money on everything from groceries to rent, clothing, and other consumer goods since prices are inflated. Serious sticker shock at the pump right now has made saving at the gas station also a top priority.
Stress less and use these eight great tips to save money on filling up your vehicle with gasoline:
Watch how you drive and maintain your vehicle.
Your driving style matters, so watch how you drive to manage your fuel consumption. Speeding, aggressive acceleration, and breaking hard all reduce your fuel efficiency. Keeping a steady pace, coasting to decelerate, and avoiding idling are all ways to drive in a fuel-saving way. It also makes sense to turn off your air conditioning when the weather is nice and open your windows to enjoy the fresh air since air conditioning can increase a vehicle’s fuel consumption by as much as 20%.
In addition to your actual driving technique, having proper vehicle maintenance will also ensure you are achieving maximum fuel efficiency. Make sure you are consistent with mileage check-ups and that your tires are properly inflated, because under inflated tires can increase fuel consumption by up to 4%. You’ll also want to travel as light as possible, which means detaching roof racks that produce drag and removing backseat and trunk baggage —except for emergency kits — that add extra unnecessary weight.
And while it’s a no brainer, it has to be said: driving less is the best gas saver. Walk, use public transportation, or carpool when possible. But when you have to drive, plan ahead so you are taking the most direct route and aren’t wasting gas on meandering miles.
Pass on premium and fill up with regular.
Unless you are driving a luxury or high-performance vehicle, odds are that your car doesn’t actually need premium gasoline. For most cars, using premium gas just means paying a premium price without getting an increased performance or fuel-economy benefit. So if your car doesn’t specifically call for premium, or premium gas is merely recommended, just use regular.
Fetch to feel some fuel relief.
Fetch can give you relief from today’s soaring gas prices. That’s right, Fetch gives you rewards for every receipt scanned, including gas receipts! So every time you fill up at the pump, you have a chance to earn points that translate into gift cards from hundreds of retailers nationwide. Just snap a photo of your receipt and upload it to Fetch — it takes less than ten seconds to feel a bit better about the rising cost of fuel.
All of your purchases go further with Fetch. The more you shop and snap, the more you can save at the pump with Fetch — and get cash back to buy more of the things you love and need.
Take advantage of apps.
Gas stations just off the highway or in the middle of urban areas are usually more expensive than those a bit farther away, so most drivers know to avoid stopping to fuel up at these convenient locations when they can. But if you are driving in an unfamiliar area, you may not know about a station just a few feet farther down the road that can save you some serious scratch!
This is why apps that show you discounted gas like GasBuddy, AAA, or GasGuru are becoming so popular to find low gas prices based on your phone’s geolocation. GasBuddy finds real-time fuel prices at thousands of stations, helping you to plan your route, find the cheapest gas around, and even take advantage of its fuel rewards program. AAA also has an interactive map with a list of the cheapest gas stations nearby, and GasGuru contains data pulled from the Oil Price Information Service, so you can see where it will be cheaper to buy gas, label frequent locations, and even filter your search by fuel grade.
Fuel up where you grocery shop.
Consistent users of apps like GasBuddy and GasGuru will likely have found that often the cheapest gas can be scored at warehouses and large grocery chains like Costco, Sam’s Club, and even Walmart and Kroger, which all use wholesale to offer lower gas prices. Some of these retailers require memberships to achieve the lowest discounts, however.
Costco has consistently offered some of the lowest prices for gas in the country, and membership here, offered at $60 per year, also provides access to other perks including groceries, clothing, toys, tools… and samples! Sam’s Club has a lower annual membership at $45 but many of the same benefits, including on its more affordable gas.
Walmart+, offered at $12.95 per month or $98 annually, also offers free shipping and early access in addition to a members’ discount of $0.05 per gallon not only at Walmart gas stations, but also Murphy Express and Sam’s Club locations. Kroger, on the other hand, does not require a membership to enjoy its low gas pump prices, so anyone can take advantage of its high quality gasoline, which is sourced from Shell.
You have a choice when it comes to where you stop and fill up, and gas station brands don’t just want you to pick the most convenient fuel pump on the corner, they want your repeat business! That’s why gas stations also offer membership rewards and loyalty programs.
Each loyalty program has its own rules, but some we have found useful include Royal Farms’ ROFO Rewards, which can save users up to 10¢/gallon on every fuel purchase; Shell’s Fuel Rewards program, which helps users save money on gas when they dine at participating restaurants and shop at participating grocers, local, and online retailers, too; and 7 Eleven, which discounts up to 11¢ off per gallon for the first 7 fill-ups on each fuel grade.
But the best of the best may be Kroger’s Shoppers Card, which is completely free, and earns shoppers one fuel point per dollar spent with every ten points worth a cent off Kroger gas per gallon… up to $1 off per gallon! There are even bonus earnings for certain grocery items or gift card purchases, and Kroger app users can even score special 4X fuel points bonanzas! Kroger does have a maximum of 35 gallons of discounted gas per fill-up, and once you’ve used it — either for 35 gallons or a single gallon — it’s gone, so you’ll want to use your accumulated gas points wisely. The smartest shoppers have told us they take multiple cars to fuel up at the same time (without putting the pump back in its holder) using their Kroger Fuel Points, or they use multiple gas canisters to take advantage of their maximum discount each time.
Pay in cash.
Have you ever noticed that many gas stations feature lower prices if you pay in cash rather than with a credit card? That’s because they are passing on their credit card processing fees to the customer.
If you are able to pay with cash, save up to 10 cents a gallon paying this way, or often with a debit card — though with debit, you may want to check in with station staff or pay in advance inside.
Earn points using the right credit card.
If you do need to use a credit card to pay at the fuel pump, at least make sure your card is one that grants you rewards for gas purchases!
There are many credit cards that offer gas rewards. Some of our favorites include the Sam’s Club Mastercard, which gives up to 5% cash back up to $6,000; the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express is exceptionally generous to people who spend a lot on gas, transit, and groceries, with no cap on gas rewards; and the Discover it Cash Back, which pays 5% cash back in certain rotating categories — like gas stations — that you activate, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
One final ProTip: Any of these tips should help to save you money at the pump as gas prices continue to soar, but the smartest drivers will use these strategies together to save the most money at the gas station.