Personal Finance

4 Ways to Fill Your Gas Tank Without Emptying Your Wallet

A young adult pumps gas with a concerned expression on their face.

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Some smart tips can help you save in good times and bad.

Key points

  • Even small price differences can help you save over time.
  • Look for opportunities to earn rewards through credit cards and gas stations.

The national average gas price has soared to over $4.43 per gallon as of May 13, according to AAA. That’s $1.41 more than the average one year ago. I know I’m not the only driver feeling the pinch, but fortunately, I know a few tricks to help save money at the pump even in times like these. Here are a few to try.

1. Comparison shop

Chances are there’s more than one gas station in your area, and while they may have similar prices, there could be slight differences in their rates. Even if you only save $0.25 per gallon, that’s $3.75 saved on a 15-gallon tank. And if you’re filling your car up twice a week, that’s $7.50. In a year, you could save up to $390 this way.

You may be able to identify the cheapest gas stations just by paying attention to the signs while you drive by. But there are also gas station comparison apps, like GasBuddy, you can use to find the cheapest gas near you. Some also have rewards programs that can help you save even more.

2. Carpool

If you have coworkers in your area, carpooling to work can save you money and help the environment. You can ask your passengers to chip in a little and that way, you all save. Or if you and your spouse have errands to run, you could combine them into one trip rather than making separate drives.

And of course, skipping the drive is an option if you live in an area with a good public transit system. Take a bus or a subway, or try walking or biking now that the weather’s getting warmer.

3. Use your credit card rewards

If you have a cash back credit card, you may be able to redeem some reward points for a gas station gift card. This might only cover a gas bill here and there, but every little bit counts. And if you don’t have a rewards credit card, consider opening one. Look for one that matches your spending habits so you can accumulate rewards quickly.

Another option is to put your rewards toward a statement credit on your bill to free up cash for gas.

4. Look into gas station rewards programs

Some gas stations have rewards programs to encourage customers to stay loyal to its brand. These programs give you a rewards card you can use at the pump every time you buy gas and when you buy food or other items inside. Once you’ve accumulated enough rewards, you can redeem them for fuel discounts.

Look into what the gas stations in your area offer. If there are several gas stations with rewards programs, see which offers the best value. You could also use rewards programs with several gas stations, though you may not accumulate rewards as quickly as you would by staying loyal to one brand. And lastly, don’t forget to keep your eyes open for any coupons or other savings opportunities at the pump.

Hopefully gas prices will come back down soon, but until then, the above tips should help ease some of the strain on your bank account.

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