No one likes pain, and pain at the pump also means pain for your wallet. But, there are some things you can do to ease the suffering as the nation goes through an unsettling price hike on fuel. While this is a minor inconvenience compared to what others around the world are going through, the opportunity to find some savings on gas is still appreciated.
Here are a dozen easiest things you can do to find savings at the pump and save the most money on gas.
1. Use tracking apps to find the cheapest gas
These days, there are tools we can use to find those extra savings. Numerous apps, like GasBuddy or Gas Guru, as well as membership associations and websites (like AAA or even Geico’s website) regularly publish and update the latest prices on fuel. This means you can find the gas station closest to you for a tank top-up. Forget the regular station near your house, sometimes driving across town can achieve more savings since the fuel is cheaper there. Remember that prices are often higher in heavily trafficked areas, including near the airport.
2. Never fall for rental car gas
If you’re renting a car, many agencies offer the opportunity to avoid filling it up yourself. They’ll fill it up for you when you return the car. Sounds convenient, right? Except they will charge you an arm and a leg for it. Search for a gas station before returning the car, and avoid using one near the airport as they tend to charge higher rates.
3. Be your own mechanic
There are lots of things we can do to increase the gas efficiency of our cars, and this includes checking the gas cap, which when loose can lead to fuel evaporation. Be sure to tighten it after filling up. Why release that pricey gas into the air? The same goes for deflated tires. Many cars have indicator lights that provide details on your tire inflation, too.
Make sure they are pumped up to the fullest for the most efficient ride as this will help reduce drag as you drive. If you drive with the windows completely open at high speed, this also creates drag. Keep them closed when speeding down the highway (or when going over 55mph, according to the AARP) to save a bit of gas.
Fetch Pro-Tip: You can redeem your Fetch points to get free gift cards to auto parts shops, helping you save even more.
4. Lighten the load
Speaking of drag, the heavier your car, the more gas you need to move it. If you’re hauling around everything including the kitchen sink, consider storing it in your garage or somewhere else. Driving around with extra weight will cost you more. If you want to check your own gas efficiency, there are apps for that, too. Fuel-tracking apps like JerryCan can help you maximize the distance you drive to achieve the most fuel efficiency for every mile you travel.
5. Use Fetch to earn cash back
When filling up your gas tank or buying anything really, save those receipts. Be sure to use Fetch to scan your receipts and receive a percentage back in savings. The extra money comes in the form of gift cards to your favorite retailers, restaurants, and other places you frequent. It’s easy, and fun, so don’t throw your receipts away.
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.
6. Surveys and cash back portals
Many online research companies offer cash for taking consumer surveys that ask about your spending and purchase habits. You can earn free cash for taking them, but of course, consider the value of your time as well. If you’re making purchases online, be sure to go through an online shopping portal like Swagbucks or Rakuten. These offer a percentage back of any purchase you make, and they send you a check with free cash every quarter.
Hundreds of retailers participate, and these include the places you frequent every day; including places like Target, Banana Republic, Home Depot, and many more.
7. Grocery store and wholesale clubs
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 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.
Fetch Pro-Tip: You can get free Sam’s Club gift cards when you redeem your Fetch points, to save even more on your wholesale purchases and gas.
8. Fuel rewards programs
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.
9. No more pedal to the metal
The faster you drive (and the more you accelerate or keep your foot on the pedal), the more gas you use. If you can, consider driving a bit slower, or on the highway, use cruise control. This will help cut back on the amount of fuel that you burn. And, avoid tailgating. Tailgating isn’t only dangerous (crashes will really hurt your bank account), but it can really drain your gas tank too.
10. Are you overpaying for gas?
Some cars can easily operate on the cheapest fuel option, and many car dealerships can advise if you can shift to a lower octane. Many premium cars recommend using a higher grade, but give your dealership a call. A few minutes of your time may lead to significant savings if they agree that you can use a lower octane or even alternate between premium and lower octane grades every other fill-up.
11. Use Google Maps
If you don’t want to add another app to your phone, consider using Google Maps. It has a feature that allows you to tap on “Gas,” and it will provide the latest prices for all of the fuel stations around you. You can also now set Google Maps to show the most fuel-efficient routes, saving even more gas on your trips; especially for road trips. In the Google Maps app, click the three dots, in the top right corner, to see driving options, including tolls and highway preferences.
If biking is an option, Google Maps has dramatically improved its biking and scooter directions. Biking and scooters can be another great way to reduce your gas usage and costs.
12. Paying in cash
This one can vary by location, but some gas stations (especially smaller “mom and pop” type places) will offer savings when paying in cash. This means they don’t have to pay a percentage of the cost to the credit card company, and they are passing along the savings to you.
Do consider, if using a rewards or cash back credit card, the potential points or cash back that you are trading off though when paying in cash. Some credit cards offer bonus points at gas stations like the Hilton Honors American Express Card, which offers 5x points when paying with the card, and can translate to other rewards that are more valuable to you than what you are saving by paying in cash. There are several other cards that offer bonuses for gas station purchases like the Ink Business Cash Credit Card and the Citi Rewards+ Card.
More Gas Money Saving Tips
If you would like even more money-saving tips for your next trip to the pump, check out our related post:
Get Rewarded at the Gas Pump with Fetch
There you have it! Use these tips to save money on gas and get the best deals. Then, go a step farther and snap your receipt to start earning with Fetch. When you scan your receipt, you can earn points toward a free gift card that can be used at your favorite restaurants, stores, and travel destinations.
Every receipt scan will net you at least 25 points, with hundreds and thousands of bonus points available for special offers and referrals. Be sure to check the app regularly to find the best special offers, on a huge variety of products.
If you don’t have the Fetch app yet, click the buttons below or scan the QR code with your smartphone’s camera to download the app.
Happy driving (and saving)!
Ramsey Qubein is a freelance travel journalist covering hotels, cruises, airlines, and loyalty programs from around the globe. He's a contributor to NerdWallet, Forbes, Fortune and more.