Do you plan on doing a lot of driving this holiday season so you can see all your family and friends? Then you’re going to want to know how to save as much money on gas as possible. Of course, you should do the correct things that will help extend your gas mileage like get your oil change, no jackrabbit starts, coast to a stoplight, make sure your tires have the proper air pressure, etc.
But you don’t want a lecture on how to drive, right? And you also don’t want to be told to drive less. You just want to know how to save the MOST money at the pump!
Then you’re in luck because we have four simple ways on how you can save money on gas that don’t involve changing your driving style or amount.
1. Use Gas Rewards Cards
There are many different gas reward cards around with many different policies. Most of the major brands have these types of cards available. Some of the top programs include:
- Shell Fuel Rewards: Shell offers a free program with two different tiers. The Silver Status allows you to save 3¢ per gallon on gas while the Gold Status allows you to save at least 5¢ per gallon. (You can reach Gold Status after being a Fuel Rewards member for six months and you keep your status by filling up at least six times in three months—approximately twice per month.) You can combine your Gold Status with your everyday purchases as well. If you link your credit card to your fuel rewards account, you can save 10¢ per gallon for every $50 you spend on dining and 5¢ per gallon for every $50 you spend on travel expenses, among other perks.
- Speedway’s Speedy Rewards: Speedway only operates in 22 of the 50 states, but signing up for Speedy Rewards is totally worth it if you live near one of this chain’s stations. You get rewarded in points; for every gallon you purchase, you get 10 points and for every dollar you spend in-store, you get 20 points. With these points, you can earn coupons for free items in-store, gift cards AND discounts on fuel. With 1,750 points, you get 10¢-off per gallon; with 4,375 points, you get 25¢-off per gallon; and with 8,750 points, you get 50¢-off per gallon!
- ExxonMobil Smart Card: The ExxonMobil Smart Card is a credit card as opposed to a “rewards” card. If your application is accepted, you can receive 12¢-off on every gallon of gas for your first two months of membership. On the flip side, if you apply via the Speedpass+ app, you can get 50¢-off every gallon for your first two months of membership. This card also gives you various other perks for gas, in-store items and car washes.
2. Gas-Finder Apps
Your smartphone can be a great tool for finding cheap gas in your area. Here are some gas-finder apps that can help you hunt for the LOWEST price in your area:
- GasBuddy: GasBuddy is a free gas-finder app that does more than just tell you where the cheapest prices are courtesy of crowdsourcing. You can search for gas stations that have specific amenities you need, complete challenges to win prizes/free gas and even pay with the app to save on every gallon. GasBuddy’s description on Google Play Store claims users save roughly $340 per year with the app’s help. This is available for iPhone and Android.
- Gas Guru: Gas Guru is like GasBuddy, but it’s not a crowdsourced app. This app works with OPIS (Oil Price Information Service) and Wright Express to pull gas prices. With this app, you can also sort by gas type (regular, premium, etc.) so you can find the lowest price for the exact type of gas you’d like. This app is available for iPhone and Android.
- Map/Traffic Apps: You can also resourcefully utilize your map/traffic apps to help you find low gas prices. Waze specifically helps you find the cheapest fuel—via crowdsourcing—but Google Maps can also assist you. There is an option for finding gas stations on your route and Google provides the price at each station as well, though it might not necessarily tell you that the stations are the CHEAPEST, user beware. These are both available for iPhone and Android.
3. Strategically Fill-Up
When you know you’ll need gas soon, but not right now, you can begin strategically planning when you will fill up your gas tank. Try to plan for early or later in the day, as prices tend to drop during these times. Also, try to fill up early in the week—Monday through Wednesday—because gas prices tend to spike for weekend (and holiday) travel.
Try to get gas in an area where there are a few stations competing for your business. These stations should be cheaper than a lone gas station off the highway with no competitors. Also, if you live near state lines, try getting gas over the border of your state (depending where you live). This might require a little more research than looking at your gas-finder app, but if you discover your neighboring state has cheaper tax rates on gas, you might be able to save some money by taking a quick ride over there.
4. Buy Regular Gas
Does your car really need the premium gas you’re pumping into it? That’s the question you’ll have to ask yourself. If you’re buying premium and you don’t need to be, you could be saving between 20¢ to 60¢ per gallon. Honestly, no one will judge you OR care if you downgrade from premium to regular, so don’t be afraid to do so.
Pack up your family, food and presents into your car! You can drive peacefully to your next holiday party knowing these four ways on how to save money on gas this holiday season.