Summertime is driving time for me. I like to take staycations to surrounding areas, and I enjoy camping. All of this means that a certain amount of driving is required. And, of course, since gas prices always rise during the summer (and are likely to keep on rising), it makes sense to employ as many tactics as possible to keep the amount I spend as low as possible. Here are 5 ideas that can help you save money on gas this summer — and year round:
1. Properly Maintain Your Car
Your care runs more efficiently, and needs less gas, when it is properly maintained. Keep your car clean, and make sure that you perform all of the recommended maintenance. Regular oil changes, as well as changing dirty filters, and keeping other systems cared for can help you maintain your car in better working order. Properly inflated tires can also help.
2. Drive Defensively
Instead of aggressively driving, consider driving defensively. This means that you accelerate gradually, rather than stomping on the gas, and try to avoid always screeching to a halt. Cruise control when you are on the interstate or the highway can also help you manage your gas usage. If you are competent at driving a manual transmission, you can improve your gas mileage as well, especially if you are going up and down hills. Pay attention to the way that you drive and that, combined with the way you maintain your car can result in savings in gas as your car needs less fuel to keep going.
3. Discounted Gift Cards
You can actually buy discounted gift cards to different gas stations. You often have to buy a good-sized amount, such as $50 or $100, but it comes with a discount of 2.5% or 5%. On a $100 gift card, that could mean as much as $5 in free gas. So, you get a $100 card, but only pay $95 for it. That’s not too bad. You can find these cards on eBay, GiftCardGranny.com, and PlasticJungle.com. Just be careful, since you don’t want to buy a card that is expired, or that isn’t what it appears to be.
4. Credit Cards
For most of us, credit cards don’t immediately bring up images of saving money. However, when done right, credit cards can save you money on your gas. Get a rewards card that gives you cash back. Many cards offer higher rewards on gas purchases, and that can help offset what you pay at the pump. Get a branded card from a company like Shell or Exxon, and you might end up with a discount on each gallon of gas. Just make sure that you pay off the balance each month, or the interest you pay will overwhelm any savings and rewards.
5. Use Apps to Find the Best Prices
Web apps and mobile apps are available to help you find the best gas prices in your area. Whether you are on vacation, and going through a new town, or whether you just want to know which gas station has the cheapest prices on your way to work, apps like GasBuddy can help you save every time you fill up.
What are your best tips for saving money on gas?