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Save Money on Gas: 9 Easy Ways to Pay Less at the Pump

The price of gas goes up in summer, but you can spend less by planning ahead.

Money sticking out of a car's gas tank
Paying for gas with cash is often cheaper than using a credit card.
Getty Images

Gas prices topped $5 a gallon in June 2022. Though we haven't approached that all-time high, no one wants to spend more on fuel than they have to.

Retail gas prices go up in summer, as Americans take advantage of the warm weather and hit the road. Summer-grade fuel is also more expensive to produce.

Even if you can't control what the price at the pump is, there are plenty of ways to get in on discounts, rebates and other money-saving deals.

Track local prices

GasBuddy tracks gas prices nationwide, with info on the average cost and the cheapest gas stations in each state, and more. 

Geico also provides a helpful local gas station tracker with regular, midgrade and premium gas prices, as well as directions to stations.

AAA has a gas price tracker in its mobile app (Android, iOS), as does Gas Guru (Android, iOS). 

You can also check gas prices in your vicinity with navigation apps like Waze and Google Maps

Use gas cards and fuel rewards programs

Gas station chains typically offer credit cards and reward programs that give you money back. Shell and BP say you'll save at least 5 cents per gallon with their reward programs, while ExxonMobil promises at least 3 cents off.  

Speedy Rewards offers 10 points per gallon of fuel and 20 points per dollar spent on merchandise. It also offers a $100 gift card when you reach 1,500 points.

Many supermarkets also offer fuel rewards. For every $100 you spend on groceries at Safeway, you can get up to $1 a gallon off at participating Safeway, Chevron and Texaco stations. 

Kroger gives customers fuel points for every $1 spent. Rack up 100 fuel points and get 10 cents off a gallon at participating Kroger Fuel Centers and Shell stations. At participating Tom Thumb stations, you can redeem up to 1,000 fuel points for $1 off per gallon.

Pay with cash 

Some states prohibit retailers from charging customers more for using credit cards. To recoup the fee they pay banks, gas stations may frame it as a discount for paying in cash.

When there is a discount, according to Consumer Reports the difference is usually about 5 to 10 cents a gallon. But it can be more: In Los Angeles, several gas stations offer 20-cent discounts for cash.

Read on: Gas Prices Could Soon Hit $4 a Gallon. Here's Why

Check your tire pressure

Making sure your tires are properly inflated can boost gas mileage by 3%, according to the US Department of Energy. At current prices, that could save you about 15 cents per gallon.

But 60% of car owners check their tire pressure only if an indicator light turns on, according to Jiffy Lube's Vehicle Maintenance Survey. A tire pressure gauge can monitor the health of your tires and costs only about $10 to $20. 

When tires wear down to a depth of 1/16th of an inch, they're considered "bald" and should be replaced right away. 

A recommended fuel efficient trip

Google Maps will recommend routes designed to save gas.

Screenshot by Cliff Colby/CNET

Map your route

Google Maps can improve your mileage by recommending the most direct routes or ones that avoid traffic or hills.

To turn on the fuel efficiency filter, tap the three dots on the directions screen, then tap "Route options" and toggle on the "Prefer fuel-efficient routes" option.

Apps like Fuelio and JerryCan suggest methods for improving your fuel efficiency and track gas prices at area stations.  

Try a club membership for discounted gas prices

Members of Costco, Sam's Club and Walmart Plus all enjoy discounted gas prices.  

According to Consumer Reports, Costco charges  anywhere from 5 to 25 cents a gallon less than traditional gas stations.  

Buy discounted gas cards through resellers

Raise and Gift Card Granny let users buy and sell unused gift cards from Chevon, Texaco, Shell, BP and other gas providers.  

Check the actual price discount and other specifics, though, because both sites also sell gift cards at retail rates, and Gift Card Granny also sells reward cards.

Become a master of fuel efficiency

You can ease gas consumption quite a bit by learning basic fuel-efficiency practices. Advice for saving gas while driving abounds on the internet, and AAA has compiled some great tips. Here are a few of the biggest savers:

  • Drive the speed limit, especially on the freeway. Fuel economy drops sharply once you start driving faster than 50 mph.
  • Ease up on the acceleration. "Jackrabbit starts" -- when a car lurches forward very quickly -- are a major gas waster. Accelerating smoothly will also let automatic transmissions shift to higher gears earlier, saving more fuel.
  • Avoid extended idling. You're going nowhere while burning up your gas. If it's going to be longer than 60 seconds, turn off your engine.
  • Minimize air conditioning. Even at high speeds, open windows hurt your fuel efficiency less than air conditioning. Park in the shade or use a windshield screen to keep your car as cool as possible in summer.
  • While driving in the city, time traffic lights so that you don't need to stop and start. Similarly, take your foot off the gas as soon as you see a red light or near a stop sign. The less braking and accelerating, the more gas you will save.

Go even further with hypermiling

Hypermiling is the practice of maximizing fuel efficiency to the ultimate degree, from choosing routes that require less braking and accelerating to cleaning out your trunk so your vehicle weighs less. 

Hypermilers might even park facing the sun when it's cold to conserve energy spent defrosting their windshield, and in the shade when it's cool to save on AC.

For more, find out which credit cards have the best gas rewards, and learn driving tips that can improve your fuel mileage

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