It’s typically painful for many of us to fill up at the pump. While prices are commonly lower during colder months, it’s still a less than desirable expense for most. That will only increase as we approach spring and summer. Thankfully there are some option to alleviate the pain. These are 12 simple ways to reduce your fuel expenses.
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Buy the Correct Fuel
This is a popular philosophy amongst older generations. They believe you must purchase premium fuel. If you’re falling prey to that myth, you’re overspending. Most cars perform fine with unleaded regular gas.
Some higher-end automobiles require premium gas. Consult your car’s owner manual to learn what kind of gas the manufacturer recommends. If it’s regular, move to that and you’ll save $0.30, or more, per gallon of fuel.
Pay With Cash
Do you prefer to carry cash? If that’s you, you may qualify for a discount.
Gas stations must pay a fee on card transactions, so they offer a discount when paying with cash. Not all gas stations offer this, but if they do it could be worth avoiding swiping your card.
Sign Up For Rewards Programs
Look no further than your grocery store to save money on gas. If the store has a station they likely have a rewards program to help you save at the pump.
Our local store offers rebates on some items, and you collect them at the pump. In some cases we can save $0.50 per gallon of gas, with a 20 gallon limit. That’s $10 off we can apply towards other needs.
Use a Gas Rewards Apps
Yes, you can even comparison shop on gas prices. Gas apps let you compare prices in your area, allowing you to find the best possible price.
Apps like Upside, Waze, and GasBuddy even provide directions to get to the station. Just make sure it’s close enough to warrant claiming the discount. You don’t want to drive too much out of your way to save $0.10 per gallon if it’s too far away.
Know When to Buy
Fuel isn’t a major purchase, but planning it can help you reduce costs. Studies show that Monday and Tuesday is often the best day to fill up.
Going on a trip this weekend? Avoid Thursdays as it tends to be more expensive. Prices can fluctuate daily, but every little bit adds up.
Only Use the Air Conditioner When You Need it
Air conditioning can be a lifesaver, it can also cause a car to guzzle gas quicker. Having the windows helps reduce strain on the automobile, thus conserving gas.
On the flip side, keep your windows rolled up all the way if you’re out driving on a hot day. Not doing that will only cause your car to work harder.
Don’t Skip Oil Changes
We all know that oil changes are necessary maintenance for a car. Skipping or delaying them can impact your gas mileage.
Having them at the right intervals reduces friction in the engine. This helps improve your fuel efficiency.
Use Cruise Control
Monitoring your speed is vital to improving gas efficiency. Using cruise control is a terrific way to maintain your speed. And, it reduces the amount of gas your car uses.
Regularly Check Your Tires
When was the last time you checked your tires? If they’re not inflated appropriately, your car is working harder than it needs and impacting fuel economy.
Check your owner’s manual to see the inflation recommendation. Or, ask your mechanic what PSI you need to inflate to.
Use a Rewards Credit Card
Credit cards aren’t always evil. If you use them wisely credit cards can be a helpful tool to stretch your budget.
That includes using a rewards credit card when purchasing gas. You can earn cash back on your purchases, or redeem points for travel points. You need to buy gas, so why not get something back for it?
Plan Your Driving
Running errands are a necessity. However, aimlessly driving all over town wastes gas.
If you have errands to run, plan out your route to make it as gas efficient as possible. Bonus points if you fill up while out at the cheapest station on your route.
Use the Correct Motor Oil
Checking your engine oil is a recommended activity on all cars. Instead of guessing what oil to use, consult the owner’s manual for your car to learn what they recommend.
Using the correct motor oil for car can increase your fuel efficiency by as much as two percent. It may seem insignificant, but it helps reduce the pain. When in doubt, ask a trusted mechanic to identify the recommended motor oil.
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I’m John Schmoll, a former stockbroker, MBA-grad, published finance writer, and founder of Frugal Rules.
As a veteran of the financial services industry, I’ve worked as a mutual fund administrator, banker, and stockbroker and was Series 7 and 63-licensed, but I left all that behind in 2012 to help people learn how to manage their money.
My goal is to help you gain the knowledge you need to become financially independent with personally-tested financial tools and money-saving solutions.