6 Hacks To Help You Save On Gas

gas pump gifWhen it comes to gas prices, what goes down inevitably creeps back up again. Fuel prices have recently been edging higher and are expected to climb further in 2017, according to price tracker GasBuddy. Fortunately, you can fight back by being a bit more strategic about when, where and how you fill ’er up. While many of us know some of the basics of good fuel economy—like keeping your tires properly inflated, staying up on car maintenance, ditching excess cargo—adopting these lesser-known gas- (and cash-) saving strategies won’t hurt.

1. Schedule your gas run.

Wednesday is typically the best day to fill up for less, says automotive expert Lauren Fix. “Prices tend to rise on Thursdays in anticipation of weekend travel,” she explains. In fact, a recent study by the St. Louis Federal Reserve found that refueling on a Tuesday or Wednesday instead of the weekend saved 8 cents to 9 cents a gallon—saving you more than $60 per year. It also pays to fill up early. “Station owners tend to hike prices after 9 a.m. or so, once they’ve had time to check the competition.”

2. Don’t top it off.

That extra squeeze may round out your purchase price, but it’s also likely to splash out or evaporate, along with your hard-earned cash, notes Fix. Stop pumping when you hear the first click. Remember to screw the gas cap back until it clicks, too, so none of your fuel escapes as fumes. “About 17 percent of vehicles on the road have loose, damaged or missing gas caps, causing 147 million gallons of gas to vaporize every year,” says Fix.

3. Pay with cash.

Most of us use plastic at the pump, but carrying cash can save you as much as 10 cents to 15 cents a gallon, says GasBuddy. (Some stations charge less when you pay cash because they save on credit card fees.)

4. Use loyalty programs.

If you must charge it, consider getting a card that rewards you for buying gas. Meanwhile, see if the station you visit the most offers a rewards or loyalty card. Some grocery store loyalty programs also offer gas rewards—you earn points buying groceries, then redeem for gas. Or check out gift-card resale sites. You may be able to score a gas card worth say $100 for $90, yielding $10 in free gas.

5. Follow the 10-second rule.

Whether you’re picking up a slowpoke or waiting at the drive-through, turn off the engine if your wait is longer than 10 seconds. Idling drains your tank by a quarter- to a half-gallon of fuel per hour, whereas restarting only sips 10 seconds worth of gas, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Even in winter, there’s no need to sit in your driveway “warming up” the engine. Most manufacturers recommend driving off gently after half a minute.

6. Let your fingers do the driving.

No more wasting fuel driving around in search of the lowest price. Log on to GEICO’s gas station locator before you leave to pinpoint the best deals along your route, or access it on the go from the GEICO Mobile app to see real-time prices nearby.

Want to cut the cost of car ownership even more? Find out how much cash you could stash just by switching car insurance. Get a fast free auto insurance quote from GEICO.

Read more: 5 Ways to Increase Your Mileage

By Julia Califano

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  1. Debra C. Gill says

    Thank you so much for that info on saving gas . Who doesn’t like to save right. I will remember those tips.

  2. FERNANDO says

    I was instructed by one of my trainer while I was a professional commercial truck driver that whenever possible at traffic lights or long stops, shift the gear to ” N ” and maintain my foot on the brake pedal. Doing that avoid that the engine continuing on running and of course consume fuel as it were driving and the driver stopping or braking at the same time. I have been applying this great system and believe me…..it has worked perfect… do not forget…. ” N ” and foot on the brake pedal and save in gas… so many years practicing this easy and secure system, and I am very glad to have passed to all of my friends and family members.

  3. Lee Etta M. Williams says

    Good advice but the cash payment not see about that. Sometimes cash is not good to have. You can cancel a card but there are the undesirable that looks for easy targets with cash to releave of it,but most make sence

  4. Vi says

    I look forward to your information. I do not top off any longer when getting gas. It is in the vehicle manual not to do this.

  5. Red Baron says

    Stop pumping at the first click. Really? First, it depends on how your vehicle’s gas tank/entry is designed. Some will cut off extremely early, when you can get another couple of gallons in. Secondly, different stations have different cutoff points on their pumps. There is no consistency.

    As for paying with cash, the max I have ever seen was 5 cents. Usually, you can find a credit card to get this much off and not have to stand behind Lucky Larry buying his daily dozen lottery tickets.

    • Kelli says

      I totally agree. I hate when I’m in a hurry and someone has 25 lottery tickets they need to get for the afternoon & evening daily pick 3!! So, so annoying and God forbid they open another register…!!

  6. Dennis DePorter says

    Here’s a rare way to lower gasoline costs. Do you really want to make the trip ? Your group is really into seeing that concert at, say, the United Center in Chicago. But you live 150 miles out. And Amtrak is not a good alternative. Just how badly do you want to go?
    If it’s the concert of a lifetime, ok. But if you are not all that excited consider taking a “pass” and stay home. Somebody saves gas $, to say nothing of the other expenses, if you opt out.

  7. Dennis DePorter says

    I guess most drivers know these rules on saving gasoline so you did not list them. Ok. But there a few “no brainers” that work. 1.) watch your speed. Usually it is ok to drive 5 or 10 miles below the speed limit. Be careful not to drive too slowly to become a hazzard. 2.) plan your trips, e.g., errands, so you are not doubleing trips. 3.) Exercise is good for most all. Consider walking or riding a bicycle, or taking the bus or subway.

  8. Jacquelyn Carpenter says

    I just took the quiz offered in an email link then read this article which was another link on the same email. They seem to offer somewhat conflicting info regarding idling and gas consumption.

    • Kelli says

      I have always heard that you should keep your car running (if it’s not FOREVER obviously) because you use more fuel starting your car than you would if you just left it running for 5 minutes or so. I never shut my vehicle off in the “drive-thru” unless it’s looking like it’s going to be 10-15 minutes, in that case I’m parking and going in to see what the hold up is!

  9. Maryjane Cusack says

    I maybe able to do this but my son and grandson may think it is stupid. I find it to be helpful thank you.