How to Reduce the Expense of Gasoline

by Guest Contributor · 12 comments

Even though gasoline prices usually stay low during the cold months we have seen an increase at the pump. Lower production is often cited as the reason for the continued increase but it is hard not to suspect pure greed when it is public knowledge that barrels of crude oil are back from its all time high prices. Given that the fuel business is a business just like any other, you need some strategies that allow you to get around while spending the least amount possible.

Use the Internet to Check

The Internet is one of the best places to get current information about fuel prices. There are numerous sites that allow members to text in or call in the prices of their local gas stations. As long as you will be in the area, getting gas at one of these less expensive stations is beneficial, as even $0.10 a gallon less really adds up over the course of the year.

Consider the Gas at the Supermarket or Warehouse

Warehouse stores have advantages and disadvantages. They go through a ton of gas, and that means they can react to changes in prices more quickly. Iโ€™ve seen my local store change prices two or three times a day as different trucks roll in and out. The disadvantage is that if the prices are rising, so does the price at the pump. However, their prices are lower most of the time, so go fill up there if there is one close by.

Supermarkets that are affiliated with gas stations often offer a discount at the pump if you purchase enough groceries. The catch here is that you are probably paying a lot more for your food here than at a cheaper store. Only you can figure out if it pays to save $1.40 or so per tank, so don’t always just assume without doing the calculation.

Change Your Driving Practices

As a nation we tend to accelerate fast, drive too quickly, overload our cars and drive mindlessly. This translates into wasted fuel. The first thing you need to do is make sure your tires are properly inflated. You lose a lot of mileage to poorly inflated tires. Secondly, check your filters and intake and clear them of any blockages.

Once you get on the road, donโ€™t gun the engine. Accelerate slowly; it takes less gas to do so. Try to stick to one speed rather than speeding up and slowing down constantly, this too saves gas. Additionally, the faster you go over 55 mph, the less efficiently your car runs. Air resistance and motor strain conspire to cost you a lot of gas.

If saving gas is a main concern and if your job allows, consider changing the hours you commute to avoid the traffic jams. Stop and go traffic is never good for fuel consumption.

Finally, group your errands together and avoid back tracking repeatedly. By planning out your driving path you can significantly reduce your mileage, and that turns into direct savings.

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Erik says:

    Our household runs two vehicles, and our local Kroger grocery stores give us a 10c/gal. discount for every $100 we spend with the chain. We try to equalize the consumption of the cars so that their tanks are both empty at the same time (if necessary, I top up the car with the least amount of fuel at home from a plastic fuel can until the level of fuel in the other car has also dropped to being nearly empty). Then we both drive to the local gas station, park at a fuel stand that is free on both sides, and fill up both the fuel can and the two cars from the same nozzle at the discounted price. In this way we average around $5 savings per vehicle per refueling stop. Overall, this saves us around $100 a year — which is not a fortune, but is still a useful amount, and is simple to achieve with a little planning.

  • melvin houx says:

    an ounce of camp fuel per each 5 gals of gasoline will bring up your mileage around 3 mpg consumption. More octane equals more power and less push on the gas pedal. try it. you,ll like it.

  • danny says:

    Do I really have to pump premium? My acrua dealers and manul strongly suggested??

  • danny says:

    Please confirm truth or myth –

    There is a difference in GAS from gas company? (i.g EXXon, Shell, and big companies) v.s local small gas station such as stop and shop, and locals?


  • Stella says:

    I’d add “Don’t waste money on premium gas”–regular unleaded is completely acceptable for the vast majority of cars and drivers.

  • Briana @ GBR says:

    I wish some of these would apply but unfortunately, I commute 2 hours/day, 5 days a week, with a turbo car that doesn’t even get 20 mpg. ๐Ÿ™

  • Steve Jobs says:

    I definitely agree that the way you drive is directly proportional to your gas consumption. I had experienced it myself and even monitored it. But one thing I would like to share is this, and this tip comes from a friend who is working in a large oil company. Make sure you fill up your tank during these times, early morning or late evening where the weather is cool and the gas had cooled. High temperature make the gas expand thus you get less gas when you fill up during noon or when the weather is hot.

    • Erik says:

      Many states have mandated that pumps must take account of thermal expansion and dispense a correspondingly greater volume as the temperature of the gasoline increases. In such states, the temperature or the time of day of your purchase makes no difference to the cost of the fuel.

  • Erik Bjornstad (Bell Performance) says:

    I agree that driving behavior is the biggest determining factor. Fuel additives can especially help older vehicles to improve mileage and reduce the working cost of the fuel

  • Mark says:

    Good tips on driving at lower speeds. Don’t forget that many convenience stations like Royal Farms have lower prices than traditional gas retail chains.

  • KM says:

    The way you drive is a huge gas efficiency determinant. I have been trying for years to convince my mom to drive more smoothly, not to keep pressing the gas when there is a red light ahead as that wastes gas, etc, but some people are just too impatient. Also, weight in the car can reduce gas efficiency, so while being prepared for any situation is a good thing, limit the amount of stuff you carry you with you. A trunk full of junk doesn’t just look bad, it’s also bad for your wallet. After the modifications made to it and the way I drive, my car gets way more miles per gallon than is estimated for it, both on highway and in the city.

  • retirebyforty says:

    Good tips on saving gas. The best way to save gas is to reduce driving and drive a more fuel efficient car. We reduced from two cars to one and that cut the gas bill in half. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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