Ideas to Save Money on Gasoline

by Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach on April 11, 2011

in Saving Money


If you’re like me, you’ve definitely noticed that you’re paying higher prices at the pump to fill up your car.


Since we’re all trying to save a buck, here are 10 ways you can save money on gasoline:

1: Consider an “off brand” gasoline station.
You may be used to buying gas only from Chevron, ExxonMobil, or some other well-known oil company. But many experts will tell you that gas is gas. For example, experts at AAA in California did blind testing of “brand name” gas versus “off brand” gas and found no difference. They tested samples of each type of gas for fuel economy, emissions, performance and drivability – and they were exactly the same. Unlike a few decades ago when cheaper gas was harmful to your car and its performance, that’s not the case today. Why? Regulations requiring cleaner, better performing fuel apply to nearly all gas companies. So that no-name station offering gas that’s 10 cents or more cheaper per gallon may be worth a try.

2. Fill up when you are not under the gun.
Why fill up your gas tank when you’re on empty, rushing to work, or under the gun? If you do, chances are you’ll hit the first station you see – which could be the most expensive. Instead, identify the cheapest station in your area, then filler up.

3: Identify “deal days”.
Find a gas station that offers a break on specific days of the week (i.e. 10 cents off Tuesdays, etc.) and routinely patronize that business.

4: Calculate the savings achieved by driving across a state border.
For example, buying gas in Northern New Jersey is typically a lot cheaper than New York. If you work, shop or visit the next state, can you fill up there?

5: Use Turnpikes and Parkways.
In New Jersey, where I live, turnpikes and parkways are regulated by the State governments and so are the gas stations there. They can only change their rates on specific days of the week. The same may apply in your state. If so, be sure to fill up before the normal day that price hikes kick in.

6: Lose weight, save gas.
What are you towing around in the trunk of your car? Are you willing not to carry a spare? Or can you avoid lugging around so much stuff to minimize gas consumption?

7: Keep those tires inflated.
Studies show this leads to better fuel efficiency.

8: Slow down speedy.
Like to gun your car engine? Why not just toss a few dollars out the window, same thing.

9: Find the owners manual.
Your owners manual can tip you off to several ways to operate your vehicle at maximum efficiency, including making the most of your gas use. For instance, circle the octane, memorize the octane, and buy the recommended octane — today and forever.

10: Gimme something.
Check your credit card rewards programs for incentives to buy a particular brand of gasoline over another. Your credit card may offer frequent flier miles or cash back for your gas purchases. Don’t forget to pay off the balance in full each month. Also, beware of gasoline cards. They may offer you a deal (like 5 cents off per gallon) for filling up with their brand of gas. But they usually make up for that by charging you higher than average interest rates on the card.

Here’s a bonus strategy:

11: Cut something else.
Place this one under unconventional wisdom. Companies are notorious for cutting in one place to make up for rising costs in another place. You can do the same thing. For example, figure out how much you are paying now to fill up compared to what you were paying before the Libyan Oil crisis. For example, a car with a 20 gallon gas tank might be running an additional $7 per fill-up and since the owner commutes, might fill up 4 times per month. That amounts to an additional $28 bucks out of your pocket. Now, find multiple small cuts you can make to your budget that total $28. Maybe give the DVDr back to the cable company and save the extra $10 per month. Cut your Nexflix subscription down to 1 DVD at a time instead of 2. Put a ban on demand movies in your household and forgo popcorn and soda in the movie theater in favor of bringing your own, cheaper goodies. Put a family ban on going to see 3-D movies (They’re too expensive anyway). Skip buying a nonessential  but convenient household item. Bye bye body wash, hello bar of soap. Get it?

If you take a few minutes to think about, and plan for your gas consumption, you’ll find plenty of crafty ways to save money at the pump.

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