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How to Save Money on Gas

The Street logo The Street 6/11/2019 Ellen Chang
a person wearing a costume: How to Save Money on Gas© TheStreet How to Save Money on Gas

Drivers who are trying to save some money at the gas pump can try many different methods to spend less of their hard-earned dollars each week.

The savings can add up quickly, helping commuters save hundreds of dollars every year that can be used to pay down debt or bulk up their savings.

The national average for a gallon of gasoline typically rises during the summer, but this year 47 out of 50 states have prices that are lower than in 2018, according to data from GasBuddy.com, a Boston-based provider of retail fuel pricing information and data.

As of June 10, the average gas price declined by 7.1 cents per gallon to $2.73 a gallon in the past week, according to GasBuddy. This average price is the lowest level it has reached in 67 days. Diesel prices also dipped by 3.2 cents to $3.04 a gallon.

Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, said gasoline prices should continue to fall at the pump, but regional variations will continue.

Here are 26 ways to save money on gas.

How to Save Money on Gas: 26 Ways

1. Fill up on Mondays

An analysis of fuel price data by GasBuddy from 2014 to 2017 showed that average gas prices were the lowest on Mondays.

2. Avoid Filling up on Thursday

Every Wednesday, the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the independent statistical arm of the Department of Energy based in Washington, D.C., issues its weekly report, which could impact gas prices the next day if the data is a surprise or what was predicted.

3. Use Cash

Many gas stations give drivers a discount if they are paying cash instead of with a credit card. The discount is typically a few pennies per gallon, but if you have a long commute, the savings adds up.

4. Avoid Stations Near the Freeway

Gas stations near the freeway or major roadways are convenient, especially if you are already on empty. You're paying for the convenience, so fill up cautiously and try to get gas in your neighborhood instead.

5. Fill up at Discount Warehouse Stores

Stores such as Costco or Sam's Club give discounts to their members. Every penny counts.

6. Get a Credit Card From an Oil Company

Companies such as Shell and Chevron, which have their own gas stations, also have their own gas card. The rewards that the card issuers provide can help defray the costs.

7. Sign up for a Rewards Credit Card

Credit companies are competitive and eager to obtain your business. Some of them offer good rewards to lure you in, such as 10 cents per gallon for the first 90 days. Check to see when it ends.

8. Find Out When the Cashback Bonus Periods Are

Credit card issuers such as Discover offer seasonal cashback bonus periods to get you to spend more money at various retailers. For instance, Discover offers a 5% cashback bonus from April through June 30 when people start driving more for weekend trips.

9. Check Out Grocery Store Gas Stations and Offers

Grocery stores such as Kroger offer incentives to use their gas stations. Shoppers can earn one fuel point for every dollar that is spent.

10. Buy Gift Cards

As grocery stores expand the number of gift cards they sell, it might be a good idea to stock up on them throughout the year. Stores such as Kroger will give consumers twice the number of fuel points for every dollar that is spent.

11. Avoid Driving During Rush Hour

If you can skip driving in traffic occasionally, you can increase your gas mileage. The stop-and-go traffic lowers the fuel efficiency of your vehicle.

12. Keep a Steady Speed

Driving the same speed means your car will consume less fuel, helping you save money. When you vary your speed, the amount of fuel used can increase up to 20%.

13. Use Cruise Control

Start using your cruise control on the freeway during your work commute or for weekend getaways. Cruise control is a good way to maintain the same speed over several hours.

14. Refrain From Higher Speeds

Driving higher speeds is enticing, especially when there is less traffic. Vehicles are the most fuel efficient when they move between 30 to 50 miles per hour. Speeds above 50 mph means you're using more gas, costing you more money.

15. Don't Idle Your Car or Truck

If you're waiting to pick up a friend, try to not idle your vehicle for over a minute. The longer you idle your car, the more fuel you are wasting.

16. Check Your Tire Pressure

Experts recommend that you check your tire pressure every month. If you forget, at least check when the seasons change. When your tires are underinflated, your car uses more fuel.

17. Remove Items From Your Car

It is easy to leave heavier things in the trunk or backseat of your car such as sports equipment. The less weight your car or truck carries means the vehicle consumes less gas, saving you money.

18. Use Less Air Conditioning

If you live in a climate that has hotter weather, it is harder to save money on gas. The more you use air conditioning, the more your car is using up the fuel you pumped. Just using air conditioning can increase your fuel consumption by 20%.

19. Avoid Driving on Empty

Even if you think you can drive another 20 or 30 miles easily when the gauge has moved to empty, avoid it. Your only option might be a gas station near a freeway, which means you might have to spend 10 cents more per gallon to fill up. Your gas gauge could also be incorrect, leaving you stranded.

20. Plan Your Route

You can save money on gas if you simply drove less. If you're always running last minute errands or tasks like picking up dry cleaning or getting lunch, you're using more gas. Plan a route where you can knock out several of these errands at once instead of completing one and heading home or back to the office.

21. Spend Less Time Warming up Your Car

Recent models of cars require drivers to spend less time warming up their cars. Just 30 seconds to one minute is a sufficient amount of time. Beyond that, you're just adding unnecessary greenhouse emissions into the atmosphere, and wasting fuel.

22. Brake Less Often

Keep a normal distance from the car in front of you, especially during rush hour so you can brake less.

The more you brake, the more fuel you are using. Avoid tailgating and braking too often.

23. Get a Tuneup

Have a mechanic check if your engine is running reliably. Get a tuneup at least once a year so that your car uses fuel more efficiently, helping you save money on gas.

24. Buy New Filters

Have your mechanic install new filters for your oil and air conditioning on a regular basis, especially if you live or work near an area with a lot of construction, dirt roads or drier climates. A clean filter helps your car use oil more efficiently.

25. Fill up Before You Reach Another State

Every state charges different tax rates. You could easily pay more money when you head into another state because their government mandates more taxes for fuel.

26. Use Apps

Download apps which provide helpful information such as the price of gasoline in various neighborhoods, so you can plan ahead. GasBuddy.com provides real-time information from its database of over 150,000 gas station convenience stores.

It's never too late - or too early - to plan and invest for the retirement you deserve. Get more information and a free trial subscription toTheStreet's Retirement Dailyto learn more about saving for and living in retirement. Got questions about money, retirement and/or investments? We've got answers.

This article was originally published by TheStreet.

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