There may come a time when no one in the United States requires gasoline to operate their vehicles. But that moment is not now, and until it arrives, gas costs will play a significant role in why our automobiles are so expensive to operate.
Prices have risen considerably since April 2020, when gasoline averaged less than $2 per gallon nationwide. Although they are down from their peak of $5 a gallon in June 2022, they have climbed again in 2023. In the summer of ’23, the national average price of a gallon of ordinary gas was $3.73, a 15-cent rise from the previous week and an 18-cent increase from a month earlier.
The Pacific Coast and neighboring states had the highest pricing, with California topping the rankings at $4.95. The Deep South is the most affordable region. Mississippi had the lowest average gas price, at $3.21 per gallon.
Because you will continue to require fuel, it is prudent to figure out how to spend as little money as possible on it. There are numerous approaches that can be taken. You may save money on gas if you are willing to adjust your routines, driving habits, and cognitive processes.
Spend less at the pump
By planning ahead of time and conducting a little research before buckling up, you can fill your tank with confidence that you received the best deal available.
Participate in a Fuel Rewards Program
To build brand loyalty, some national gas station and grocery store businesses offer gasoline rewards programs. However, be sure you understand their regulations regarding how much you can save and how much you must spend in order to use the incentives. Also, if the stores that give the benefits have few locations in your city, are you driving out of your way—and so consuming extra fuel—to take advantage of these perks?
Using Apps to Shop
How many times have you filled up your gas tank and then noticed a station providing much lower fuel prices before driving a few blocks? Use popular applications like GasBuddy or Gas Guru to avoid this. Many of these are free and available on smartphones. You can browse results by distance and price, and you’ll get GPS-guided instructions to the station of your choice.
Schedule your fill-ups
It makes a difference when you buy gasoline. According to Gas Buddy’s annual surveys, Thursdays are the worst days to fill your tank because prices rise to meet weekend travel demand. Wednesday is the second-worst day of the week. On Sundays and Mondays, gas is usually the cheapest. Instead of waiting until your tank is nearly empty to fill up, planning ahead of time can save you money.
Pay in cash
Some stations provide a discount if you pay with cash rather than a credit card. The difference in price between cash and credit normally runs between 5 and 15 cents per gallon. When you use a debit card, the station may give you the same discounted cash rate. Going inside and paying with cash also means avoiding skimmers, which are often installed on gas pump credit card scanners by crooks.
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Select regular-grade gas
Use standard (87 octane) gas unless your car has a high-performance engine that demands premium gas (which has an octane rating of 91 to 94). It is less expensive, and premium gasoline will provide little or no benefit to your engine. Premium gas, contrary to popular belief, does not deliver higher gas mileage. However, if your vehicle demands premium gas, don’t save money by using normal. Consistently doing so will cause engine harm.
Tips for Increasing the Fuel Efficiency of Your Vehicle
Making alterations and simple repairs to your vehicle before pulling up to the pump is sometimes the best method to save money on gasoline. Here’s a list of simple maintenance tasks that will help you get a few extra miles out of each tank of gasoline.
Examine your tire pressure
According to studies, underinflated tires result in one cent more fuel burned per mile than properly inflated tires. If you travel 350 miles on a full tank, you’re wasting $3.50 between fill-ups. If you want to maximize your fuel efficiency, make sure you’re not ignoring that irritating tire-pressure indication.
Turn off everything
Sure, when you turn off the engine, the air conditioner stops blowing cold air, your phone charger turns off, and your GPS device goes dark. Few people realize that you can conserve gas by turning off all of your devices before turning off your engine.
It takes more gasoline to restart your vehicle if your air conditioner is set to high and your devices are already turned on. It will take less fuel to crank the engine if they are in the off position when you start the car. Remember that small steps taken along the path can make a great difference in the long run.
Reduce the weight of your vehicle
The lighter your car, the less gas it consumes. If your trunk or cargo space is full of items you rarely need to transport, put them somewhere else. Tire racks are examples of such equipment. Roof racks and carriers increase the weight and wind drag of your vehicle. According to Consumer Reports 2020 research, a roof rack with a carrier reduces a sedan’s fuel economy by 19% and an SUV’s fuel economy by 13%.
Select an energy-efficient vehicle
If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, consider choosing one with better gas mileage, such as a hybrid or electric vehicle. You’ll pay more up front, but you’ll save money for the rest of your life.
Will the savings cover the initial investment? Yes, according to Consumer Reports research comparing hybrids to comparably equipped vehicles. According to the March 2023 research, fuel savings would make up the difference in less than four years.
Electric car savings are more difficult to calculate. The average price of an electric vehicle is more than $61,000, which is $12,000 higher than the industry average; however, federal and state tax credits help to offset this. They make more sense in locations where gas prices are high but electricity rates are cheap, like the West Coast.
Improve your driving habits to save money on gas
Of course, how we drive plays a significant role in whether we save or waste gasoline. Take note of when you get behind the wheel and how your driving affects your gas mileage.
Following a handful of these suggestions will yield unexpected benefits when you look at your gas bills at the end of the month.
Drive with Consciousness and Patience
If you enjoy revving your engine at stop lights, racing off the line, and driving dangerously near the bumpers of other vehicles, your vehicle is surely guzzling gas.
If you have a quick reflex and often drive 10-15 miles per hour over the speed limit to pass the automobile in the left lane, gas efficiency is probably the last thing on your mind.
If you want to save money on gas, take your foot off the pedal when you can just cruise to the stoplight. When the light changes, proceed slowly through the junction, gradually increasing your speed. When you go on an interstate or turnpike roadway, use cruise control to keep a steady speed instead of the stop-and-go driving that wastes gasoline.
Make your travel plans
Instead of running errands on weekends or off days, attempt to complete them in a single trip before or after work. Instead of making separate excursions, stop at grocery stores, shopping malls, banks, and gas stations on your way to work. Take note of petrol stations with the greatest prices and shopping places where you can complete errands without having to make out-of-the-way visits later in the week during your daily commute.
Roll up the windows and turn down the air conditioning
For years, people have debated whether cranking on the AC or rolling down the windows uses more gas. True, running the AC uses more gasoline, but it also has a significant impact on vehicle drag when the windows are down and the breeze is screaming through your car.
The idea is to keep the AC as low as possible and your windows rolled up as tightly as possible. It’s vital to avoid putting extra strain on the engine during the hot summer months by running the AC full bore. Parking in the shade and using full window visors helps keep the inside of your car cooler, reducing the need to blast the AC. Finally, you should save money on fill-ups.
Cut your mileage
Just because you own a car doesn’t mean you have to drive it everywhere you go—at least not alone.
Carpooling or collaborating with others to use a ridesharing service such as Uber or Lyft can also help you save money on transportation. Ridesharing minimizes vehicle wear and tear. Consider carpooling if you live near coworkers, with different people driving on different days. If you can walk, bike, or take public transportation, you can save even more money.
If your business permits you to work remotely, or if you can locate one that does, you can drastically minimize the amount of driving you do, saving time and money.