How to Find the Cheapest Gas Near You
Finding the Cheapest Gas
Gas prices are known to dip just a little, then rise a lot soon after. Gas is necessary for anyone who drives a car, so it's natural we try to find the lowest price possible. Fortunately, there are many ways you can find the lowest gas prices in your area, either on your computer or on your phone. Plus there are ways to save gas so you don't have to fill your tank as often.
This article covers all of those topics so you can save money on gas.
Using the Internet to Find the Lowest Gas Prices
Before the internet we had to rely on word of mouth to find out which gas station had the cheapest prices. The internet has given people the ability to find the cheapest gas prices from the convenience of their own home. In a way, this is word of mouth as well. Users spot low gas prices and post it online. This could be done through e-mail, instant messaging, or forums.
However, websites have been set up so users can track gas stations all throughout their area, so they can find the closest gas station with the cheapest price. One of these websites is GasBuddy. There are some things that users should be aware of when using websites like this:
- Information comes from other users. On sites like this, it's the users that provide the gas prices. While I doubt many would try to give erroneous information, you never know if rival gas stations may try to sabotage another.
- Information may be out-dated. GasBuddy shows when the information was last updated, so pay close attention to that. Prices can jump in a short time after it was updated. Be careful and watch when the prices were last last updated.
- Just because gas is cheaper a few miles away, doesn't mean you should drive there to fill up. If the gas station around the corner is a few cents more, it might be wise to fill up there than to drive across town in an attempt to save money on gas, unless you have a reason to go to that part of town.
iPhone GasBuddy App
Using a Cell Phone to Find the Lowest Gas Prices
Most times you want to save gas when you go out of town either for vacation, work, etc. Since you are in an unknown area, you may not even know where the gas stations are at! Fortunately, there are apps for smart phones that pinpoint where gas stations are and the prices of gas at each station. GasBuddy offers an app for that information, as well as allowing a user to enter gas prices that go directly to the website. The best part is that the app is free and is highly rated.
Tracking Gas Usage to Save on Gas
The internet has made it easy to track how much gas you use, how much you pay, etc. The website Fuelly allows you to enter basic information each time you put gas in your vehicle. This will allow you to see information such as:
- The average miles per gallon for a vehicle.
- The average price you pay per gallon.
- How much money you have spent thus far on gas.
- How many miles are driven on each fuel-up.
- Potential money saved if your vehicle had better mileage.
The site also allows you to put in notes as well. So if there was an unusual circumstance such as a vacation that required the use of more gas, you can track that as well. This can help monitor your gas usage, how much you are paying, and more.
How much do you spend on gas per month?
Tips on Saving Money on Gas
There are some ways you can save gas so you don't have to visit the pumps as much.
- Buy a gas cap with a lock. This won't help you save on gas, but it will protect your tank from thieves wanting to open up your tank to siphon your gas out. It's a small investment which could save you a lot.
- Buy a vehicle with high miles per gallon (MPG). This is considered a long term investment. When gas prices started to skyrocket, people turned in their Hummers for sensible cars. Focus on those vehicles that give a good MPG.
- Purchase a hybrid or electric vehicle. Obviously this will reduce or eliminate having to buy gas at all. But this has it's own hurdles, such as how expensive the vehicles are or how unreliable they can be.
- Plan out your driving. If you have errands to run, places to go, etc. plan out your route accordingly. Google Maps is great at at planning out routes, offering alternative routes, and advising how many miles the trip will take.
- Carpool. This requires no explanation. If you can carpool with others to work or other events, then do so. You can also use public transportation.
- Lighten your load. The more stuff you leave in your car, the heavier you will make it. This uses more fuel. Empty out your trunk of those heavy items to lighten the load.
- Lay off that gas pedal. The faster you go and the faster you try to accelerate, the more gas you will end up using. Slowly accelerate and don't go as fast as possible so you can save a buck on gas.
- Break the right way. If you are watching your speed and keeping your distance from other vehicles, then you won't need to break as often. If you are consistently speeding up only to end up stopping soon after, that will burn up some fuel.
- Use a GPS. A GPS can help you find your way and limit the amount of time you are on the road. Some of the more advance systems can warn of heavy traffic and plan a new route accordingly.
- Do routine maintenance on your vehicle. Keeping your tires properly filled, having them rotated, and regular oil changes will help your gas efficiency.
- Don't assume a club or membership will give you cheaper gas. Places like Costco offer gas at many of their locations, but the lines are so long and the price difference so small it may not be worth it.
- Use a credit card that gives a high return on gas purchases. Use a credit card that offers a money back on purchases which can include the purchase of gas.
- Ride a bike or walk. If your destination isn't that far away, then ride a bike or take a walk. It's good exercise, good for the environment, and saves you money.
- Use public transportation. While buses can take a lot longer, you can take advantage of those to lower the cost of transportation. Subways are also another good alternative.
- Work from home. This is a valid alternative due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While I was working form home, I saved a lot on gas!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 David Livermore