Little Changes That Can Equal Cheaper Gas

A Little Effort Can Equal Impressive Savings

Unless you've been living on the top of a mountain or in a cave, you are probably aware of the rising cost of fuel. By now you may also envy those lucky enough to be already driving fuel-efficient vehicles, or who can afford to buy that hybrid they had their eye on. But, even if you can't lay out the big bucks for more efficient transportation, you can take a few simple steps to cut your gas costs.

Here are five quick, easy strategies that equal cheaper gas.

Sometimes a Gas Card is the Bargain Choice

Discounted Gas Cards:

There are two easy ways gas cards can save you money -

1) Buy online at sites which specialize in buying and selling gift cards. These websites work by allowing people to buy and sell their unneeded or unwanted cards at a discount. They include many kinds of cards, not just gas cards, and the discounts aren't typically deep, but it is a cost savings. Two popuar sites are http://www.giftcardgranny.com/store/shell/ and http://www.abcgiftcards.com/. Ebay.com also provides the chance to bid on gift cards, which could net substantial savings. (Site links are at the bottom of the article.)

2) Use store coupons. If you are lucky enough to have a Publix nearby, you may already be aware that they often feature gas-saving coupons in their flyers. Typically they offer a $50 gas card for $40 with a minimum purchase (usually around $30). That is a substantial savings and I've often stocked up on a month's worth of groceries, just to buy several cards at once. This can mean a $30 or $40 monthly gas savings. It pays to keep an eye on your grocery store's flyers so you can grab any offers when they're available.

Going Shopping Can Cut Your Gas Costs

FuelPerks:

The Fuelperks program adds gas credits to registered customers' accounts. The credits can then be redeemed at selected gas stations. Fuelperks is currently associated with retailers in many states, so you will need to check with your store to see if they participate. Typically the program is offered by grocery stores and requires that you complete a short registration to become eligible. Usually the savings are associated with the store's Rewards Card program.

In the South, Winn-Dixie has been offering a cheaper gas program for some time, and their website states:

Every time a $50 spending threshold is crossed at participating Winn-Dixie’s using the reward card with magnetic stripe, a $.05 cent per gallon discount on gas is earned and deposited into your account. There is no limit to the discount per gallon so stack up and save even more.

To earn fuelperks! even faster, look for hundreds of bonus fuelperks! items throughout the store. Each bonus item earns additional fuelperks! ranging from $.05 to $.50 cents off per Fuelperks! earned expire one month after the month in which they are earned. As an example, all fuelperks! earned in March, expire at the end of April.

The fuelperks! account balance is printed right on your receipt tape or you can view it online.

Fuelperks! can be redeemed immediately at any participating gas station. Simply select YES on the pump prompt and follow the instructions on the screen.

When Buying Gas, Remember - Location, Location, Location

Choose the Right Gas Station, at The Right Time:

It may not take a full-scale plan of attack to get the best prices, but a little strategic planning can whittle your fuel costs. First, consider timing, Believe it or not, prices may be different at different times. According to Chris Faulkner, president and CEO of Breitling Oil and Gas:

"During a regular week, you want to fill up your tank on Wednesday or Thursday before 10 a.m. (because) "Gas prices rise on Thursdays in anticipation of weekend travel". 10 a.m. is when most stations make their daily price change. Do not buy gas Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, unless it is an emergency.

Before you head out for your early-morning fueling expedition, take the time to check online for the best local prices. There are also smart phone apps which allow you to do this from your cell phone. Sites like Gasbuddy.com are an excellent way to view local prices at a glance. While you don't want to drive miles out of your way to save $.02, sometimes going another few blocks can mean impressive savings.

A Happy Car is a Fuel-Efficient Car

Make Your Vehicle More Fuel Efficient:

Even if you can't spring for a new Hybrid, it's possible to tweak your current vehicle for maximum mileage. So why not...:

  • Travel light: every 250 extra pounds eats up an extra mile per gallon of gas.
  • Maintain your car: According to the Department of Energy, you could improve your gas mileage by 3.3. percent just by keeping the tires inflated to the proper pressure. Clean air filters increase efficiency by up to 7 percent.
  • Drive the speed limit: Driving at a steady pace helps save fuel, while Increasing your cruising speed from 65 mph to 75 mph will drive up fuel consumption by about 20 percent.
  • Skip the premium: Check your vehicle's user manual or with the manufacturer. You'll probably find it will do just fine with a lower-octane gas.

Leave the Car at Home

Consider Alternatives to Driving Yourself:

One of the simplest ways to save on fuel costs is simply not to drive your car, or at least not as much. Sometimes the only option is to drive your own car everywhere, but often there are other options which may not be obvious. Depending on your community and circumstances, you may want to consider the following:

  • Public transportation: Taking the bus or commuter train is becoming increasingly popular. More towns and cities are providing pleasant, reliable, low-cost bus and rail alternatives. If these are available to you, maybe you could try one, at least for shopping or leisure activities. You might even find that, like a lot of other people, you can use them to get to work. It's easy to get used to someone else doing the driving and dealing with the stresses of traffic.
  • Carpooling: Larger companies may offer this option and even organize carpools, which save gas, natural resources, and money. Or, you may want to check around and organize your own carpool.
  • Ride a bike in the short term: If all you have to do is get to the store for a couple of things or visit a friend, why not invest in a nice bike, get out, and get some fresh air. The environment will thank you, and so will your lungs.

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