Gas prices across the nation have surged almost 50% this year. The “award” for highest price for gas in the nation goes to Mendocino, California, where it hit a record-setting $9.60 per gallon. State averages for regular gas prices are $5.26 in Alaska, $5.55 in Hawaii and $5.18 in Nevada.
Recently, gas prices have cooled down a bit, partially because the White House administration requested a gas tax holiday for three months. So far, six states (and counting) have suspended state gas taxes. After that three months is up, you can reasonably expect gas prices to go back up, too.
Many individuals online have spoken out about the need to stop complaining about the price of gas. They’ve said that it’s a first world problem, that it’s a small price to pay for peace in the Ukraine, that it’s not that big of a deal. But it is a big deal to many people, including those whose very livelihoods depend on being profitable, and gas expense cuts into those profits.
For the average working individual who needs to commute to work, exorbitant gas prices cut straight into the family budget. There are other people and companies that are even more directly affected by high gas prices.
Landscapers (both companies and individuals) who use up a lot of gasoline on a daily basis, running mowers and power tools.
Commercial truckers and trucking companies, who either need to keep fuel in their owner-operated rigs, or who need to keep a fleet of commercial trucks on the highways in order to stay in business.
Farmers and agricultural enterprises, where fueling irrigators, combines, tractors and the like is essential to realizing profits down the line.
Saving money on gas is important for everyone in this economic climate. Following are some tips for saving money at the pump:
Use Gas Reward Cards
Gas rewards credit cards are a simple way to earn cashback on gas purchases. Chase and American Express each offer cards like this. Be sure to use them for your business fuel purchases as well as personal, to maximize savings.
Sign up For Loyalty Programs
Speedway, Spinx and many other gas station outlets operate loyalty programs where all you need to do is enter your phone number at the pump to get 5 cents off per gallon. Five cents isn’t a lot, even if you’re filling up, but over a week or month, the savings does add up. Most of these programs give customers even higher reward points when you buy items from inside the store, like coffee, pizza, snacks and grocery products.
GasBuddy is an app for Android and iOs where you can enter your zip code and it will tell you where the cheapest gas is that’s near you. You’ll also get a list of all the gas station prices, as reported by users. It’s free to use on your PC or phone and you can also contribute your own reports of the latest gas prices that you see in town to help out others.
Sign up For Grocery Store Rewards
Grocery store chains such as Kroger offer up to10 cents off each gallon of gas once you reach a certain level of points. Points are given based on your grocery store receipts. Considering the high price of food these days, it’s pretty easy to quickly rack up enough points for that 10 cents off reward.
Don’t Travel For Gas
As much as you may dislike actually stopping for gas, this is a better strategy than traveling solely for the purpose of buying gas. Make gas stops on your way to and from other errands so you aren’t wasting money on gas just to fuel your tank.
Fill up on the Best Days
Did you know that gas is historically lower on some days than others? It has to do with when the fuel tanks come in to fill gas station tanks. According to GasBuddy, the cheapest days to get gas are on Mondays and Fridays. However, this statistic is based on national trend data, so your local gas stations might vary from that. Consider just asking at the counter of your favorite gas station. They have to buy gas too, so they’ll understand your desire to know when is the cheapest day to fuel up.
Get a Tune-up
If your vehicle isn’t running efficiently, saving money on gas is going to be more difficult. A tune-up will help make sure your vehicle is burning gas efficiently and not wasting gas every time you drive.
Consider Home Deliveries
When you order groceries and other items online, you save on gas by not driving. Instacart offers grocery delivery at affordable prices, although keep in mind that you might pay slightly higher prices this way. Just be sure to give the shopper your grocery loyalty card number so you still get your fuel rewards points, even though you’re not shopping in person.
Turn Off Engine While Waiting
When you visit food drive-throughs, ATMs, or are just waiting inside your car for something, turn off the engine. Idling wastes gas. According to fuel efficiency experts, up to a quarter gallon to half a gallon of gas is burned per hour just by idling.
If you don’t have a fuel rewards credit card, it’s worth it to pay cash at the pump in order to get the lowest possible price. Some gas stations, such as Valero, give customers a price break if they pay with cash. The inconvenience of having to pay inside is often worth it.
Being a “smoother” driver helps to conserve the gas in your tank. Sporadic fits and stops burn up more fuel than when you’re driving along smoothly.
Finally, Waze is a driving app that allows you to plan routes in the most direct way possible. By not double-backing, you’ll end up saving gas. Download it for Android or iOs phone devices online.
No matter who you are or what line of work you’re in, these tips for saving money on gas should be of help. As always, contact your CPA for more helpful tips on money management.