Are You Paying Too Much at the Pump? Here’s How to Cut Your Gas Budget Today

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Why pay more for gas if you don’t need to? You can’t control the fluctuating prices at the pump, but you can shop smarter and save money.

Amp Your Gas Mileage

The easiest way to save money on gas is to use less of it. Driving slower and applying gentle pressure to the pedals will make a noticeable difference. Anticipate the road ahead so that you don’t need to slam on the brakes. And avoid flooring it–rapid acceleration burns more fuel than gradually speeding up. You can also increase your MPG by ensuring that your tires are properly inflated.

Don’t Let Your Car Idle

Contrary to popular belief, your car doesn’t really need to “warm up” for longer than about 30 seconds. After that, you’re wasting gas. The same goes for waiting in line at the drive-thru. If you’re stuck in a long line, it’s better for your fuel economy to turn the engine off.

Sign Up for Points

Many gas stations and grocery stores offer membership cards that accrue points. You can then cash those points in at the pump for a per-gallon discount. This is a scenario where, if you’re going to be shopping at a particular store anyway, you might as well reap the benefits.

Keep in mind that these programs usually don’t roll over the points from month to month. If you’ve got enough points for a good deal, then fill up!

Join a Discount Club

Costco and Sam’s Club both offer their own gas stations at discount prices for members. While it might not be worth joining just for the cheaper gas, if you were interested in bulk buying anyway, this is a worthwhile perk. Prices at these stores are often significantly lower than the local options.

Ditch the Premium Fuel

Unless your car’s manual specifically tells you to use a higher-octane gasoline, you’re wasting money at the pump. Certain high-performance engines require premium gas, but unless you’re driving a sports car, you probably don’t need it.

Shop at the Right Time

Gas is usually cheaper earlier in the week. Weird, right? You should also avoid needing to fill up right before major holidays, when the price usually spikes.

It’s not exactly a myth that you get more gas per dollar by filling up when it’s cooler outside. Gasoline is very slightly denser in cold temperatures. However, gas is stored in underground tanks where there’s little variation in temperature between dawn and high noon.

Shop at the Right Place

Gas stations near highways and busy commercial areas always cost more. It’s simply supply and demand. You can usually find better prices off the beaten path. An app like GasBuddy will help you find the cheapest station near you.

Avoid letting your car get too close to empty, as it will limit your options when you need to fill up.