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.
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.
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.
#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.
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?