This Auto Gas Savings Page contains a growing list of tips from our readers to help you save money at the pump!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Gas Savings Tip #1 Lighten the Load
You can get improved gas mileage by keeping your car lighter. Every 100 pounds of unnecessary stuff, like clothes, books, sports equipment, tools, etc is like carrying an extra person around, all the time—and decreases gas mileage by about 1%. Don’t carry unnecessary weight in your car. Empty the trunk of all but emergency supplies. Cynthia Ortiz – Dallas, TX
Gas Savings Tip #2 Gas for Less
I just read your gas savings page online and wanted to tell you how we save on gas. I drive a diesel, but my wife’s car is gas. We both purchase our fuel at a gas bar that is owned by a grocery chain. We get 3.5 cents off a liter of our fuel which is given to us in the form of a coupon that we use to purchase groceries. Presently our gas is selling at the equivalent of $4.16 a gallon ($1.04.9 a liter), so any amount of discount we can get is welcome. Bob Tarrant – Nova Scotia, Canada
Gas Savings Tip #3 Leave Early for Your Destination
Here’s my best way to save gas — Leave early and Be organized. I gather the things I need for the next day and put them by my purse. I also leave early for any appointment or trip and thus I am less likely to speed which saves me gas and a possible $200 speeding ticket. This money saving tip costs you nothing but a little bit of time. Donna Korzun – Dowagiac, MI
Gas Savings Tip #4 – Three Gas Savers
1) Try checking mileage with and without cruise control. I have found that driving on a long trip in a moderately hilly country without cruise control is better for fuel mileage. Allow the car to slow a little going up hills rather than insisting on maintaining a set speed as a cruise control will do. You can find a mileage tracker here.
2) Buy a new car with a standard transmission to save about $900. As a bonus, the acceleration and fuel mileage will be better. Shifting gears in the city is not difficult.
3) Slow earlier for anticipated stops. Red lights can often be anticipated on a known route. This not only saves fuel but brake linings too. Walt D. – Fullerton, CA
Gas Savings Tip #5 – Organized Errands?
Organize your errand runs so that you aren’t going out every day. And when you do go out make sure that you don’t backtrack and waste gas – especially at today’s prices. Think about taking the most efficient route so you save gas and time. Sandy Linden – Phoenix, AZ
Gas Savings Tip #6 – Find Cheap Gas Easier
Know the least expensive gas prices in your area – and patronize those stations. Go to GasBuddy.com to find the least expensive gas in your area — US and Canada only.
Steve & Annette – Scottsdale, AZ
Map to Gas
Go to Mapquest, click on the gas icon at the top of the page, enter your zip code, and a map will appear showing the gas stations with the lowest prices in your area. You can do the same thing with GoogleMaps and GasBuddy.com. Justice Studebagel – Albuquerque New Mexico
AAA Gas Savings
AAA has a better gas station locator http://gasprices.aaa.com/ at the bottom center of the home page is Latest Gas Prices link. Enter your zip code and it will show you a map of the stations AND list their prices. That way you can decide if driving across town to the cheapest station is worth the gas if a station nearby is more expensive by only 1 cent. Bob H. – Chandler, AZ
Plan Your Trip
AAA has a website where they calculate distances, your vehicles gas mileage and gas prices so you can better guess-ti-mate how much your driving trip will cost.
Visit FuelCostCalculator.com Ron P. – Peoria, IL
Gas Savings Tip #7 – 3 Ways to Get Better Mileage
- Tires – Keep your tires inflated at manufacturer specified levels.
- Drive Conservatively – Avoid “Jack Rabbit” starts and racing into red lights. Look ahead and drive carefully.
- Cruise Control – On open roads use cruise control
I normally ride the bus to work, because I work downtown and would never want to park. At times, I fool around, maybe sleep in a little, and I got used to driving about 2 miles and then catching the bus the rest of the way. I thought, “I get 25 mpg so that 2 miles cost me maybe 30 cents.” Not true! I’d get out the door in a hurry, sometimes I was chasing the bus.
I was listening to Car Talk on the radio and heard a quote that really hit home, “When you are coasting downhill, your gas mileage could be infinity, but when you’re hitting the gas either going uphill or jack-rabbiting, you’re probably getting about 1 or 2 miles per gallon. What you get on a full tank is just an average.” No way do I want to continue representing that, so now my car stays in the garage until I get home, and then I resist taking it unless I have to since I live walking distance to many businesses, including the gym, library, and the grocer.
Lattina – Colorado Springs, CO
Gas Savings Tip #8 – Think Diesel
Get a diesel car – they use far less fuel. Mark Dowling – Leicester, UK
Gas Savings Tip #9 – 11 Gas Saving Ideas
- Buy a different car: If it’s time to replace your old car, buy a more fuel-efficient one. Alt-fuel vehicles and hybrids are great options too.
- Organize errands: Don’t run out just to go to one store. Plan an efficient route so you can make several stops in a short amount of time. If you have time, call a friend and see if you can pick up something for them too.
- Home Work: Work from home whenever possible.
- Work Close to Home: It took Steve a few years to find a job close to home, but it cut about 40 miles of driving each day.
- Nothing on top – Carrying a load on top of the car creates drag. If at all possible keep the outside of your car free from protrusions. Some experts say that this will save 5% on your gas mileage.
- Have a budget – save money in advance for gas and other categories – get our June 04 issue for an article on how to start a budget that works for you.
- Save in other places – You may need to reduce expenses in other areas to make up the difference.
- Walk or bike to nearby locations
- Carpool to work – many large companies (100 employees or larger) have programs to encourage carpooling and may even help with expenses.
- Use Public Transportation – some companies subsidize your costs. Students get discounts.
- Share rides to kids activities – look at the club or team roster and find families who live in your area. Cooperation and helping neighbors makes America great!
Gas Savings Tip #10 – Cheap Gas from Grocers
Price Chopper, Sunoco Launched Fuel AdvantEdge in New York, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire.
I’m a new “devotee,” and wanted to pass something along to people who live in the NE where Price Chopper Supermarkets are located. Price Chopper and Sunoco have a promotion going that’s fantastic. For every $50 you spend at the market, you earn a 10 cent per gallon discount on gas at Sunoco.
I went on a big stock-up trip tonight and spent $165, earning 30 cents off per gallon for the next 30 days (of course there are some other limitations, but it’s really like getting f*ree m*oney). If I spend more over the next month, the discount will increase. We’re going to run our gas tanks dry then fill up and take advantage of the savings. Hope some folks find this helpful!
Editors’ Note: Our research indicates that this program started in 2006 and continues to this day. Other grocers which we have seen with similar discount programs include:Safeway — including: Dominick’s, Von’s, Tom Thumb, Randall’s, Genuardi’s, Pavilions and Carrs, and Kroger, including: Ralph’s, Fry’s, King Sooper and more. Sue – USA
Winn Dixie stores that are mostly in the southern part of the country have a program. when you buy groceries there for every 50 spent you save 15 cents per gallon and you can save it all month and get gas for free depending on how much you have on your card.
The last time I went I saved 85 cents off of the gallon. Gas was $2.45 a gallon before the discount. It has to be used at the end of each month but it does help. Right now it is only good a Shell station but they are trying to get other companies to get in on it too. M.K. – Orlando, FL
Holiday times are better because you can purchase gift cards at Giant Eagle and for a limited time for every $50 in gift cards purchased, you receive .20 off per gallon of gas. Spring Ashmore – USA
More Gas Savings with Grocery Purchases
At King Scooper when you spend 100 you’ll save ten cents a gallon. Lorraine S. – PA
Giant Eagle is a grocery retailer in Ohio, Maryland, western Pennsylvania and central West Virginia. Giant Eagle offers fuel perks which is their reward program for shopping with them. For every $50 you spend you receive 10¢ off per gallon of gas at GetGo, which is their own gas station. You can also get fuel perks for buying gift cards at Giant Eagle for a large list of retailers.
I have bought gift cards not just for giving out as gifts but if I know that I am going to be shopping at one of the retailers I buy a gift card for that store. In doing so I can limit how much I spend at that retailer and get flypapers for doing it. They often run specials when you get double fuel perks for purchasing gift cards (i.e. 20¢ for every $50).
I have six children and have often been able to build up to free tanks of gas (up to 30 gallons).
Here is a link to the information: Spring Ashmore – USA
Gas Savings Tip #11: Get Pumped Up—The Cost of Underinflated Tires
Becky drives a Toyota Tacoma. She doesn’t do much driving since her job is near home, but whenever she fills her tank she always calculates her gas mileage on our Gas Mileage Tracking Card that she keeps in her car.
Recently she noticed that her mileage dropped from 20 mpg to 17. Her tire pressure should be 44 pounds of pressure (pounds per square inch—psi) and had dropped to 30 psi.
Now, a loss of 3 mpg doesn’t sound like much, but in reality, it’s a loss of 15% of her standard mileage. To calculate how much of a cost difference it really makes, we decided to see how 15% affected the cost of a gallon of gas.
How We Check our Tire Pressure
We use a dial tyupe tire gauge, very similar to this Accu-Gage 60 PSIversion.
We’ve found that dial type gauges are much more accurate than the pencil type.
Hold onto your seat, because it is quite significant.
If gas costs $3.50 per gallon a 15% loss in mileage means that a gallon of gas actually is costing her $4.02 per gallon or 52 cents more per gallon. That’s really not something she likes doing!
Use this chart to see what you could be losing if your tires are under-inflated.
If your Normal MPG is a 10% loss in mileage costs you 10% more for gas for every gallon you purchase and you’ll go less distance with a gallon of gas:
- 15 mpg, 10 percent less means 1.5 miles less per gallon
- 20 mpg, 10 percent less means 2 miles less per gallon
- 25 mpg, 10 percent less means 2.5 miles less per gallon
- 30 mpg, 10 percent less means 3 miles less per gallon
And if your tires really get low and you lose 20% of your gas mileage, you’ll spend even more.
How To Calculate Your Gas Mileage
To calculate your gas mileage, fill your gas tank completely and record your odometer reading (total mileage on your car) or reset your trip meter.
The next time you fill up, calculate how many miles you’ve driven since your last fill up (subtract your current odometer reading from your previous one or just read your trip meter).
Record the number of gallons it takes to fill your tank and divide the miles driven by the number of gallons of gas you just added. That will give you your total gas mileage.
The bottom line is to monitor your gas mileage and your tire pressure on a regular basis. Doing this will get you the best gas mileage for your money.
Gas Savings Tip #12 – Walking Instead of Driving
We used to shop at stores that offered a gas discount, but then found their prices were higher and typically were out of our way 🙁 We decided to move closer to all the places we typically shop and walk instead. We live on 3 major bus lines, our children ride the school bus, and I take my college classes for the most part at home on-line.
Its nice being able to walk 5 minutes to the grocery store for the bare neccessities, and 15 minutes to everything else. We find walking to most of the places we must go not only encourages us to exercise but it also makes us really think about what we are buying.
Do we really want to lug back items we don’t really need if we are on foot? The only time we drive to a store is when we make our occasional Costco runs. We call it “living the European lifestyle.” Instead of getting in the car to buy the Sunday paper we walk to get it. Instead of getting in the car just for milk and eggs we walk to it.
And having to walk and carry it all back helps us not only avoid the temptation of overbuying but also stopping at the fast food places along the way. Its not as appealing to walk up to a drive thru for a burger! It seems like driving everywhere not only increased our spending but our waistlines. Now that we are walking we spend and eat less! We could actually go for weeks without ever setting foot in a car and we feel better as well. Lisa – Lakewood, CO
If you want more ways to save on auto/ car expenses please see our entire auto tips page for related topics!
If you are a hyper-miler or know of other ways to save money on gas, please leave your tips below as a comment and we’ll review your comment and post the best ones here.