Money-Saving Hacks: How to Save on Gas to Stretch Your Dollar Further
Gas prices can feel out of control, but you can rein them in with these tips to make your gas budget go further.
Contributing Writer at Tally
November 10, 2022
Fuel prices can be unpredictable and frequently set new records for all-time highs, putting serious strain on budgets. When gas prices reach these highs, many Americans living on tight budgets scramble to adjust their budgets to compensate.
However, with the right planning, it doesn’t have to feel like a scramble to fill your tank. You can save money on gas all the time, lessening the impact of sudden and sharp price increases. Continue reading to learn how to save on gas with 10 quick and easy tips.
How to save on gas: 10 money-saving tips
Gas prices can be unpredictable, but that doesn’t mean you have to go broke every time you head to the gas pump. These 10 tips on how to save on gas can help ease the pain at the pump and give your monthly budget some relief.
Finding the lowest prices
The most obvious way to save on gas is to find the cheapest gas prices in your area. However, driving around from station to station seeking lower prices could burn more fuel than it’s worth. This is where technology comes into play.
Mobile apps like GasBuddy and Upside rely on users to submit current gas prices to determine the cheapest gas station nearby.
These apps aren’t always 100% accurate, so you may see mild discrepancies. However, they give you a good idea of where to look.
Making the most of club memberships
If you’re a Costco or Sam’s Club member and buy groceries there but don’t buy gas, you’re leaving savings on the table. These clubs’ fuel prices are generally 5- to 25 cents per gallon cheaper than the average price at a gas station. You’re already paying for the membership; why not maximize your savings?
Using savings apps
GasBuddy and Upside are more than just low-price locators. They also offer cash back for using the apps. Link a credit card to the app and use that credit card for purchases at select retailers. The savings are generally a few cents but can sometimes reach 25 cents or more.
You can also save directly at the pump with these apps. For example, if you sign up for GasBuddy and get the GasBuddy debit card, you can also get a few cents — up to 25 cents — off per gallon of gas at selected gas stations.
The Upside app works a little differently in that it offers you cash back per gallon of gas at select gas stations on top of the cash back at retailers.
Joining loyalty programs
You can also save money at the pump by signing up for gas stations’ loyalty programs. Chain fuel stations like Shell, Mobil, RaceTrac and more have a wide range of loyalty programs that can save you a few pennies per gallon.
The RaceTrac Rewards VIP program allows you to earn points on your purchases and redeem them for freebies, and also gives you 10 cents off per gallon for the first 40 gallons and 3 cents off after that. This program costs $2.49 per month, though.
Shell offers the Fuel Rewards program that saves you 3 cents per gallon just for being a member and 5 cents per gallon if you earn Gold Status. You can also get bonus rewards for linking your debit card to the Fuel Rewards system and using it at select retailers.
The Exxon Mobil Rewards+ program offers you at least 3 cents off per gallon every time you fill up. Plus, you get $1 in rewards for every $100 you spend in-store (2 cents per dollar).
Many other fuel stations have rewards programs. Check with your favorite station to find more.
Getting fuel Rewards Credit Cards
You can also check out various fuel rewards credit cards from franchise gas stations, such as Shell and Exxon Mobil.
These credit cards come in two forms:
Retail credit cards have a credit card network’s logo — such as Visa, Mastercard, Discover or American Express — and can be used anywhere those cards are accepted
Store credit cards have no major credit card network logo and only works in the store it’s from
Shell offers both cards, and each provides a discount of 10 cents per gallon up to 35 gallons at a time and 10% off in non-gas purchases at Shell with a $1,200 cap.
The Shell Mastercard also adds 2% Shell rebates on the first $10,000 in dining and grocery store purchases per year and 1% Shell rebates on all other purchases.
The Exxon Mobil Smart Card+ gives you a discount of 12 cents per gallon on Synergy Supreme+ grade gasoline (premium gas) and 10 cents off all other gasoline. Plus, you get 5% back on up to $1,200 of all purchases in Exxon Mobil stores.
You can choose from a range of other gas station rewards credit cards. Stop by your favorite station to see if they offer a credit card and fuel savings. Just remember to look out for annual fees and other charges.
Adjusting driving habits
Your driving habits can also impact fuel economy.
Once you exceed 50 miles per hour (mph), you can dramatically lower fuel economy. For every five mph over 50 mph you go, it’s like spending roughly an extra 20 cents per gallon on gasoline, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Lowering your speed by 5 to 10 mph can increase your vehicle’s fuel efficiency by 7% to 14%, lowering fuel costs.
Keeping a steady speed is also key to reducing fuel consumption, helping you save money on gas.
You can increase your fuel economy by 15% to 30% on the highway and 10% to 40% in stop-and-go driving by:
Obeying the posted speed limit
Setting your cruise control
Reading the road ahead to make gradual speed changes
Checking tire pressure
When trying to sort out how to save on gas, look no further than good old vehicle maintenance, including tire pressure. For every 1 pound per square inch (psi) drop in tire pressure, your vehicle’s fuel efficiency can fall by 0.2%.
Regularly checking your tire pressure and correcting it to match the recommended pressure on the sticker inside the driver’s side door jamb — the door frame — can ensure your vehicle’s getting its optimal miles per gallon.
Remember, you should not inflate your tires to the air pressure listed on the tire. This is only the tire’s maximum sustainable tire pressure. Inflating to the max will result in overinflation and lead to accelerated tire wear and a rough ride.
Using the correct oil
When changing your oil, the weight of the oil you use can impact the fuel economy. For example, using 10W30 engine oil in a vehicle designed to use 5W30 can reduce its gas mileage by 1% to 2%.
If you change your oil or have a shop change it for you, verify the oil weight against the manufacturer’s recommendation. You can find this recommendation in the owner’s manual and on the oil filler cap on the top of the engine.
Don't let your car idle if you are stuck in traffic or waiting for someone. Research shows idling for more than seven seconds is less fuel efficient than shutting the vehicle off and restarting it.
Your savings will likely be small, but this is yet another quick and easy gas-saving method.
Adjusting climate control
During the hot summer months, many of us crank up the air conditioner. However, according to FuelEconomy.gov, running the air conditioning can reduce your vehicle’s fuel efficiency by more than 25%. The impact is the worst on short trips.
You may think rolling down your windows is a solution, but this causes wind resistance, increasing aerodynamic drag and impacting your fuel efficiency at high speeds. At lower speeds, though, the impact isn’t as significant.
So, what’s the solution? You need to adjust on the fly. FuelEconomy.gov recommends:
Open the windows at low speeds and use the air conditioning at highway speeds
Setting the automatic climate control as low as needed, and don’t run it longer than needed.
Parking in a shaded area so the interior temperature is relatively low when you return to your car
Opening the windows for a short period before running the air conditioning to pre-cool the interior.
Don’t run the air conditioner while idling before you drive
Save on gas and do more with your money
When trying to figure out how to save on gas, the above 10 tips can help your fuel budget go further. In some cases, it can even save you enough money so you’ll have extra cash for paying down debt, saving for retirement or building an emergency fund. These tips can get you started no matter what your gas-money-saving goals are.
If your credit card debt is also giving you budgetary struggles, the Tally† credit card debt repayment app can help. Our app helps you manage your credit card payments, and Tally offers a lower-interest personal line of credit, allowing you to efficiently pay off higher-interest credit cards.
†To get the benefits of a Tally line of credit, you must qualify for and accept a Tally line of credit. The APR (which is the same as your interest rate) will be between 7.90% and 29.99% per year and will be based on your credit history. The APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Annual fees range from $0 to $300.