There are things you can do to keep your gas expenses down. Among them:
Use a gas station app or website. Smartphone apps, such as those from GasBuddy, AAA, and Gas Guru, are particularly convenient when you’re traveling and away from your computer. They’re available for Apple and Android devices. Many are free. You can filter results by fuel grade and sort by distance and price, as well as get GPS-guided directions to the station you choose.
GasBuddy and Fuel Finder also let you check stations for amenities such as ATMs, restaurants, and car washes. GasBuddy has station reviews, which might tell you, for instance, which restrooms to avoid. And Gas Guru lets you save your favorite stations, so you can remember where to stop on your way back.
The Google Maps and Waze apps, which many people use for real-time traffic alerts and driving directions, also offer gas-price info.
You’re likely to find that you may be able to get a better deal at stations that are not located on major highways. Of course, making a big detour to pay less might not make sense.
Check the prices in the different states you’ll visit. Prices can vary significantly among states, often because of differences in state gas taxes.
Think about how best to pay. Some stations offer a lower price if you pay with cash instead of a credit card. The difference between the cash and credit price usually ranges from around 10 to 15 cents per gallon though he adds that it can be as much as a dollar.
Another option is to pay with a cash-back credit card. While the credit card price may be higher than the cash price, the reward you receive could make using the credit card a better deal.
If you plan to pay by debit card, don’t assume that you are getting the cash price. Some stations could charge you the credit card rate instead. Check the posted prices at the pump. Selecting the debit option and entering a pin when you pump your gas is often a good indication that your transaction will be handled as cash.
Slow down. It may sound silly, but with prices being as high as they are, it’s a good idea to keep your foot out of the accelerator pedal. Around town, that means reducing your rate of acceleration, and on the highway, keeping your speed below 75 mph, above which he says wind resistance eats into your fuel economy. Reducing your speed to 65 on the highway can increase fuel economy by as much as 15 to 20 percent.
Check your tire pressure. Making sure your car’s tires are properly inflated to the pressure indicated on the sticker inside the driver’s door will make it run more efficiently.
Reduce the number of car trips. If you can avoid traveling by car, either by walking, taking public transportation, or staying home, you’ll save money at the pump. If you do have to drive somewhere, try to bundle errands and appointments so you don’t have to make multiple trips and use more fuel.