The average family in the US spends $1500 a year on gas for their cars. That’s a lot of money! If you’re looking for ways to save, you’re in luck. There are plenty of things you can do to trim the fuel budget. Here are just a few ideas.
1. Join a fuel rewards program
These free programs in the US are very popular. Some of the most common come from your local grocery store. In some states, specific grocery store chains offer one fuel point for every dollar you spend.
So, when you do your weekly food shopping, you swipe your “frequent buyer card” and get points. Those points add up and can be applied towards getting gas. For example, 100 fuel points could equal $1.00 off each gallon of gas. If gas is $2.50 a gallon, you would swipe your card and only pay $1.50 per gallon.
It’s a super simple way to save money. Some credit cards and gas stations offer similar programs. Most of them are free to join and definitely worth it.
2. Slow down and drive smart
Research shows that driving aggressively, rapidly accelerating, speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, coming to sudden stops and then taking off fast are all factors in gas guzzling. People who slow down and adopt a “calmer” driving style save around 30% on gas.
Also, keep your tire pressure set to the recommended amount. You can usually find out what that is by checking a sticker on the inside of the driver’s side door. Properly inflated tires not only save money at the pump but it’s also much safer for you and better for your car’s tires.
3. Don’t pay for premium fuel
This is something not everyone can avoid. Some cars require premium fuel, usually sports cars with high performance engines or some luxury brands. However, most vehicles run just fine on regular, standard gasoline. It’s a lot less expensive per gallon. So, only use the premium fuel if you absolutely have to.
4. Compare prices
Shop around! If you start paying attention, you’ll realize the price of gas can vary greatly between stations. It’s not a good idea to drive out of your way or across town to save a few cents (remember, the idea is to preserve gas) but keep an eye on the price of gas at stations you pass every day. If one has cheaper prices, pull in there and fill up. There are also websites and apps that can help you track cheap fuel prices.
5. Buy a fuel-efficient car
Or better yet, get one that runs on electricity. Some even use both gas and electricity; those are called Hybrids. These cars can cost a little more to purchase, but they will save you money in the long run. If one of these isn’t an option, look at regular cars known for fuel efficiency. Those are usually small, compact cars. You’ll want to avoid big SUVs or pickup trucks, which are notorious for being gas guzzlers.
6. Drive less
This one is a no-brainer, but not always easy. Most of us need a car to drive to and from work or school every day. But what about when you’re not working? Instead of driving to the nearest restaurant, try walking there. Or if you need to go pick something up from the store, just down the street, how about riding your bike instead? It’s better for your waistline and also your wallet. You’ll save so much money on gas.