Have Fuel Pump Sticker Shock? Here Are 5 Ways To Slash Your Fuel Costs

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Save On Gas

Save on Gas

Gas prices have increased over the past few weeks.  Perhaps you’ve noticed.  An individual’s reliance on gas varies, but inevitably, it affects most all of us in one way or another.  It’s important to remember, though, that we have control over certain aspects, even during a state of increasing gas prices.  Here are a few methods drivers can use to save on gas today.

#1.  Maximize Fuel Points Programs

Fuel points programs enable consumers to substantially save on gas.  And so many programs exist!

Grocery Store Programs

First off, let’s review a common method many can use to easily save on gas – the fuel points programs offered from grocery store chains.  Obviously, take advantage of the fuel points you earn on your normal grocery spending.  Also, many chains’ programs offer points on gift card purchases, some at higher levels.  For instance, I and many others routinely earn 2x Kroger fuel points on gift card purchases, and 4x during special promotion periods.  This is in addition to periodic bonuses of 200 points for certain gift cards.  With 1k points, I can save $1 per gallon, up to 35 gallons per fill-up.  Why turn down a fairly easy $35?  Other chains’ programs may be better or worse than Kroger’s.  Regardless, crunch the numbers for yourself to determine how much you can save.

Some will bring multiple cars to the fill up at the pump at the same time or some empty gas cans to maximize the 35 gallons.

App-Based Programs

Beyond grocery stores, drivers can take advantage of many other fuel points programs.  These may require a bit more effort than your grocery store’s program, but they’re not difficult to master.  App-based programs like GetUpside save drivers on fuel when they activate offers in the app before filling up.  GasBuddy saves drivers up to a quarter per gallon by attaching a free GasBuddy fuel card to a bank account; also, they still have a premium membership for more savings.

Gas Station Chains’ Programs

Many gas station chains offer their own specific fuel savings programs.  Speedway’s Speedy Rewards is just one popular option.  With a variety of purchases – fuel, merchandise, and even third party gift cards – users can earn points for free fuel gift cards, among other redemption options.  These programs highly vary based on the fuel chain, so check out the fuel savings options for your favorite gas stations.

And if you want to take your savings to another level, try combining and stacking the savings of these different fuel points programs, grocery store-related and otherwise.

#2.  Use the Optimal Credit Card

Complement your fuel points program savings by paying with a credit card offering a strong bonus category for gas stations.  Right now, I enjoy using my Amex Business Gold for 4x Membership Rewards points on gas.  A variety of other solid options exist, and here are a few of the best ones.

Save On Gas

#3.  Plan

That one simple word may be obvious to many, but we should all reflect on it.  By planning, we can make simple changes to our everyday behavior to substantially save on gas.  Plan your weekly and monthly errands in advance.  Which errands are in the same general area?  Can they be combined into one trip?  Do I make multiple trips to the same location over time which I can condense into one trip?  Of course, plans change and surprises are inevitable, but we can generally optimize plans to save on gas.

#4.  Don’t Drive

While gas points from grocery programs is my no-brainer way to save on gas, the “don’t drive” concept is probably my favorite.  Some may find this laughable – how can anyone not drive?  But in reality, there are many everyday chores, needs, and experiences where driving can be eliminated.  Here are just a few examples:

  • Use other transit options when practical.  Get to know your local subway, rail, and bus options.  Ride a bike.  Run or walk.  The financial and environmental benefits of these methods come out ahead here.
  • Have your kids take the bus to school.  Do you really need to drop off and pick up your kids at school each day?  You’re probably already paying for school bus transportation via your local taxes, so why not use the service?  Parents can also enjoy time savings here.
  • Carpool with others, in a variety of forms.  Beyond carpooling to school, consider other options.  Can you ride with a friend to lunch instead of meeting there?  If your neighbor is headed to the same location you are, consider riding together.
  • Take a ride share service.  Use services like Lyft and Uber to reach your destination.  Amex enthusiasts can leverage their Uber benefits for free transportation!
  • Socialize at home or within walking distance.  You don’t have to go out to have a good time.  Many of us have known this for years, and the pandemic forced many to realize it for the first time.  Consider hosting a safe gathering at your own home, or meet friends or family at nearby homes or parks.  Of course, some activities require a vehicle – our favorite local beaches require us to drive.  But much can be accomplished without a car.

Save On Gas

#5.  Take It Easy

Consider your own driving habits.  Do you waste gas based on how you drive?  Getting from one place to another is not a race.  No one cares if you’re first off the line at a light.  Many times, you’re accelerating quickly to just slam on the brakes at the next light.  Leave a few minutes earlier and avoid rushing.  Accelerate and brake only when necessary, and do so gradually.  Drive the speed limit, instead of five or ten miles per hour over, while staying out of the way of faster traffic.  We can make small tweaks our driving habits to more efficiently use gas and save money.

Conclusion

I’ve hit on the primary ways I save on gas and you can, too.  Many other methods exist, and that’s a good thing!  While we can’t magically turn our existing gas-powered vehicles into electric ones, we can do much to save on gas while also taking better care of our environment.  I’m always open to other methods to save on gas.  Speaking of, what are your favorite strategies?

Benjy Harmon
Benjy is a fan of points, miles, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently focuses on roaming throughout the USA for close to free. He enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

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12 COMMENTS

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12 COMMENTS

  1. Cash app periodically has sams.com boosts of 10%. I max those oit on sams gift cards and then use at sams or murphy’s for gas.

  2. When using grocery fuel rewards, we always make sure we’re going to get the entire 20-gallon benefit by bringing gas jugs as needed. I believe others may have 25 gal max. With the $1.50 savings (grocery fuel rewards max) + Shell $0.05-0.25 + GetUpside App $0.01-0.15, in the ideal we’re nearly at a $2 discount from a list-price station. Also I’ve watched others show with 2 vehicles, piggy back on each side of the same pump and fill each vehicle to be sure that they hit the gallons limit.

    • I’m jealous if you have a $1.50 discount cap. Kroger owned store where I live has $1 cap off list. I have to use at least 50 cent to beat BJs so my bet beat discount is really 50 cent a gallon. Hardly worth worrying about IMHO

      • Giant Foods (MD, VA) caps at 20 gal. but goes to 1500 pts / $1.50 off. I believe Kroger lets you go to 25 gal., which sort of helps if you have enough capacity in one visit. Have to look at it over time, the program says I have $1,470 savings over life of program – that’s a lot of $5 to $25 discounts, and yes, probably $1,000 in actual savings given the price starts higher. Going to see if that in-store GetUpside app discount works.

  3. The GetUpside app is legit and works well. Load app, find station offering discount (most other than Costco type do), “claim” the deal you want (making sure you’re getting premium or regular), show up within 4 hours, first time there enter your best cc for fuel (thereafter just select your cc), then once the charge clears your GetUpside app accumulates the cash-back that you cash-out for gift cards. The discounts were $0.05-0.15 per gallon but right now running much lower, but the in-store purchases are funning 10-15% cash-back which has me wondering if paying for the fuel inside vs. at pump will trigger the % back vs. cents-back. Also works at restaurants and grocery stores. Stack with fuel rewards too. If you load the app, consider using my referral code 5K6QS and we both get extra $0.15 back on first/next purchases.

    • Carl,
      I agree, but this article focuses on practical solutions that individuals can immediately implement – options that don’t involve buying a different car.

  4. Another way – join BJs, Costco or Sam’s Club and get discounted gas there. Also Walmart+ membership (free w Amex Platinum as they reimburse the monthly fee) let’s you use Sam’s Club for gas so that is a zero cost way (for those that have the Platinum card). Personally I am a BJs and Costco member plus have the Amex Walmart+ membership (overkill I know)

    • Retired Gambler,
      That’s an excellent option for some. While the sticker price may be cheaper at a wholesale club, one can apply grocery fuel rewards for a better price elsewhere. Plus, I’ve noticed long lines of cars at discounters recently, which can definitely eat into the savings.

      • Understand – I get fuel points w Harris Teeter (owned by Kroger) and use that as well. In my experience I need to have at least 50 cent a gallon off at the Harris Teeter fuel station to match BJs. Also I haven’t seen lines at BJs/Costco at least in Charlotte. As always YMMV

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