5 Smart Ways to Save Money on Gas

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Tired of spending thousands a year on gas? Find out how you can save!

You can accumulate gas savings by:

  1. Owning a fuel-efficient car
  2. Maintaining your car properly
  3. Knowing the difference between a car that requires premium gas use, and one that only recommends it.
  4. Using fuel reward programs & discounts
  5. Using public transport, gas price comparison apps etc.

How do I save money on gas?

You already spend so much on a basic expense: Gas. Are there any practical ways to cut back on this?

On average, households in the United States and Canada spend approximately $2,000 per year on gasoline. Between commuting significant distances for work (while sometimes being stuck in traffic) and carrying out other tasks (e.g. picking the kids up from school), it doesn’t take long before those dollars add up and a few thousand dollars have gone into refuelling.

Saving on gas has the following amazing impacts on your car, home and the environment: it boosts your car fuel’s economy, improves your financial health (by increasing your savings) and helps reduce the production of environmentally harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

If you’re reading this article, you probably spend a lot of money on gas. You’ve probably started to wonder “How can I cut back on my gas expenses”?

Here are a few helpful tips:

1. Own a fuel-efficient car

If you don’t already have one, choose a fuel-efficient car the next time you buy a car. Owning a car with high Mile per Gallon (MPG) or low L/100km rating shows how serious you are about fuel efficiency as this is one of the most important ways to save on gas. 

Japanese and Korean cars tend to be more fuel-efficient than their German counterparts, as typified by Toyota, Honda, Kia and Hyundai brands. The following are specific examples of fuel-efficient cars: Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Kia Rio, Hyundai Elantra & the Chevrolet Cruze.

Hybrid cars also generally do better in terms of fuel efficiency. While these cars are more expensive to purchase upfront, recurrent fuel costs can be significantly reduced with them, especially if you have high mileage. Electric cars can stop you from needing to buy gas ever again, but they require additional equipment and can cost a lot more starting out.

Poor driving habits lead to a decline in fuel efficiency. For instance, for every 5mph you drive over 60mph, you are paying an average of an additional 24 cents per gallon on gas. Without reducing the number of miles covered daily, you can improve your fuel efficiency by accelerating gently, slowing down gradually when making a stop & turning off your car engine when you park your car for more than a few seconds, something that many modern cars already do. These simple tips are sometimes the hardest to follow, but they have cumulative positive effects on your gas savings.        

2. Proper car maintenance

As a rule, a well-maintained car uses up less gas than a poorly maintained one, so if you want to save on fuel costs, ensure your car runs smoothly.

With regular car check-ups, you will know when an oil change is necessary and this will prevent larger issues, such as a clogged air filter. 

Keeping your tires properly inflated has a dramatic impact on mileage as well.  Underinflated tires reduce fuel economy by up to 15% (at 0.2% per psi drop in average tire pressures).

To prolong the life of your tires, check your car owner’s manual for the required inflation pressure (checking the tire itself will show the maximum tire inflation pressure). Many gas stations let you fill up your tires for free.

Air conditioners guzzle gas, and restricting the use of your air conditioner to only when you absolutely need it, is a brilliant way to save on gas.  Blasting your AC all the time can reduce your car mileage by up to 20%. Check your AC for ‘economy’ and ‘recirculation’ settings, which help reduce air conditioning load and ultimately save gas. On the other hand, using your car heater has a very limited impact on fuel efficiency because it normally relies on the heat of the engine rather than energy from your battery or gas.

3. If your car doesn’t require premium fuel, don’t use it

Regular grade fuel is usually just fine for your car. In most cases, using a higher octane gas than is recommended by the manufacturer doesn’t have any significant benefit on your car’s performance. Instead, you end up spending more money for very limited value. In your car owner’s manual, find out if it requires premium fuel, or if the usage of premium fuel is only a recommendation. Premium fuel usage can increase your gas expenses by up to 20-40 cents per gallon compared to when regular-grade gasoline is used.

If you find out that your car requires the use of premium gas, then you have to use it to avoid causing damage to your engine. However, if it is only a recommendation, using lower-grade fuels isn’t likely to be a problem. The use of regular gas would be a win for both your fuel efficiency & your wallet.  

4. Take advantage of reward programs and look for discounts

Another approach to saving on gas is to make good use of fuel reward programs and discounts.

Large gas station chains in collaboration with grocery stores often offer discounted gas to their customers, sometimes via a simple customer reward program or by having a credit card tied to the chain. Gas station loyalty programs across Canada like Esso Extra, Petro Points & Shell Air Miles all reward customers for regular gasoline purchases. In the US, Casey’s gas station fuel saver rewards program gives you a direct discount on the cost per gallon of gas bought when you make certain purchases at nearby grocery stores. If your gas station chain has exclusive credit cards, you might consider using them just for fill-ups because they tend to include additional savings or cashback on gas spending.

Another option to save on gas is via the use of discounted gift cards from sites like Gift Card Granny or Raise. These can save you an additional 5 to 10% on your gas costs!

5. Other tips: public transport, carpooling, gas price comparison apps, and more

Finding other forms of transportation can help with saying on fuel costs as well. Other practical alternatives include public transport and carpooling. Taking advantage of carpooling for some activities (e.g. getting groceries, driving kids to practices and attending religious services) can be a game-changer in terms of fuel usage.

Gas comparison apps like GasBuddy are very useful for checking gas prices at gas stations close to you. These apps use your current location to create a list of gas stations close to you in order of their prices so you can choose to visit the cheapest station to refill! Users are constantly updating data on these apps so they are accurate most of the time. GasBuddy also has its own fuel savings program named Pay with GasBuddy as well as other gas-saving tools. Costco also tends to offer lower gas prices than typical gas stations. But remember that driving too far out of your way to get gas at the cheapest rates would end up costing you more than you’d save. 

Conclusion

With gas saving tips such as owning a fuel-efficient car which is properly maintained, using the appropriate type of gas for your car, taking advantage of fuel reward programs & discounts, and other tips such as carpooling, using public transport, and diving into the world of gas comparison apps, you are well on your way to lowering your fuel costs.

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