Running a family of five to and from school, work, activities, social events, and more requires transportation. And in Texas, we use our car quite often to go to and from these various outings because of the distance between them. Saving money on gas at the pump is a must for us.
Gas is not cheap when you add up all the miles you drive daily. Gas prices can fluctuate often too. One week you’ll pay more because of a holiday weekend and the next you’re saving money at the pump with lower gas prices.
Tips to save money on gas at the pump
1. Use the GasBuddy app – Download the GasBuddy app and check out the gas prices that are in your local area. It can be a big savings from one gas station to the next that is only one block away. The app relies on crowdsourcing to constantly update gas prices at fueling stations. The prices are accurate the majority of the time and it’s updated quite frequently by our shared information economy.
GasBuddy also allows you to sort by fuel type which helps us as we have one vehicle that is diesel and one with regular grade fuel.
2. Sign up for Rewards Cards – Many gas stations have their own loyalty rewards card that will save you money on your gas purchase. Normally, when you use the rewards card, it will accumulate points to use towards a future purchase. Some even give you an immediate discount per gallon for each use.
Shell has a free program called Fuel Rewards®, upon sign up, you instantly receive Gold Status which gives you an automatic $0.05/gallon off for the first six months of membership. To keep the status, you just have to fill up six times in a three month period. Worst case, you don’t do that and you get bumped to Silver Status which still gives you an automatic $0.03/gallon off with each fill.
Exxon Mobil also offers a rewards card where you can earn points. The rewards program that it is a part of is called Plenti®. The program not only partners with Exxon and Mobil, but also with Macy, RiteAid, Chili’s, Bi-Lo, and Harvey’s. So when you use the free rewards card for purchases at these locations you accumulate points that can give you discounts including dollars off at the pump.
3. Save with having memberships at warehouse clubs – Generally, gas prices at warehouse clubs are less per gallon than at your local gas station. I have noticed that it is on average about $0.10/gallon less than its local market price. So if you already have a membership, consider filling up the tank each time you visit the club. I wouldn’t go out of your way to drive there just to fill up unless it’s located near you.
I also want to note that if you have the club’s credit card. Sam’s Club credit card offers 5% cash back on fuel purchases and the Costco credit card offers 4% cash back on fuel purchases.
4. Purchase gift cards on eBay – No, I’m not talking about anybody off the street posting listings for gift cards on eBay. There are big, legit gift card companies that sell gift cards on eBay and sometimes they run promotions on discounted gift cards. For example, SVM Gift Cards is a major company that has gift cards to Exxon Mobil, Chevron, BP, Phillips 66, and many more. When we see these promotions, we would grab a couple gift cards usually at 5%-10% off.
5. Use Raise or Cardpool – Both Raise and Cardpool are sites that offer discounted gift cards or you can also sell them gift cards that you have just laying around. We use both of these sites when there is a good deal on the gift card or when they run promotions on your purchase. Raise frequently runs promotions on their site, usually about 5-10% off gift cards.
6. Maximize your credit cards rewards in category spending – If you don’t already know, I love using my credit cards. I get free travel when I put all my spending on it. There are credit cards that offer cash back or points when you use them and offer more cash back and points in certain categories.
As mentioned above, both the Sam’s Club and Costco credit cards do offer cash back on gas purchases of 5 and 4%, respectively. There’s also the Chase Freedom and Discover card that offers 5% cash back during certain times of the year. Use your credit cards to accrue your travel points.
7. Earn supermarket fuel points – Many grocery stores offer a fuel point program. Essentially, you shop at the store and start accumulating points. When you earn a certain number of points it gives you $0.10-$1 off per gallon at their pump.
For example Kroger family of stores offers a fuel points program called the Plus Card. For each $1 you spend in store, you get one fuel point. When you accumulate 100 points you get $0.10/gallon discount at their fueling station, 200 points receives $0.20/gallon discount and so on up to $1 off per gallon (up to 35 gallon single purchase)
Sometimes stores offer promotional times when they offer 2x or 4x fuel points and I try to maximize these offers.
Here’s my hack: during their 4x fuel points offers, I’ll go in and purchase gift cards to stores or restaurants that I know I’ll be shopping at in the next month or so. I’ll buy up to a $250 value to get 1000 fuel points essentially netting me $35 discount at the pump.
I also stack my category spending during these promos such as using my Chase Freedom card at the grocery store during the 5% cash back period. Essentially I’m receiving 19% cash back on a hack like this.
8. Pay cash – I have to put this here because it really is a savings. But, I will say this is my least favorite method because I do not like to carry cash around and I love maximizing my credit card rewards. In any case, you can save money at the pump. There are gas stations that will charge you less per gallon of gas if you pay cash instead of using your debit or credit card for the purchase. I have seen a $0.05 – $0.20 difference per gallon at some gas stations.
9. Consider the time of day that you fill up – Fill up the tank in the morning or late evening when it is a much cooler time of day. Fuel contracts when it’s cold outside meaning you’re getting more bang for your buck. You pay per gallon and not by weight so when more contracted gasoline fits into a gallon you get more gas from the pump at the same price.
10. Avoid filling up on holiday weekends or weekends – You’ve probably seen the price hikes yourself. It’s a Tuesday and your local gas price is $xyz, then a few days later going into a major holiday weekend the price is now $xyz + $abc. Usually filling up your tank is going to cost more during the weekends or on major holiday weekends. Think ahead and purchase your tank of gas during the weekdays to avoid the price hikes.
Are you ready to save more money on your next gas purchase? Be sure to try out any of these 10 tips to save you more money on your next fill up.