Tired of pumping half your paycheck into the fuel tank? Try these tips to save on gas.

3 minute read

If you’re like most Americans, you probably grit your teeth while you watch the ticker on the gas pump until it finally stops at a shockingly high total. In fact, if you own a large pickup truck or SUV, you’re probably paying more than $100 each time you fill up the tank.

With gas expected to rise to crazy-high prices per gallon, the last thing you need is to spend hundreds of dollars on gas every month. Fortunately, tweaking your habits to save on gas here and there can add up to fuel savings.

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1. Ring up grocery fuel rewards

Many grocery stores offer rewards programs that include discounts on gas at select gas stations  when you buy a specific amount in groceries. For example, Midwestern grocery chain Hy-Vee adds a gas discount per gallon that applies at Hy-Vee gas stations when you buy certain items that change with the stores’ weekly ads.

Safeway, Albertsons, Kroger, and Price Chopper also offer fuel rewards programs. Publix doesn’t have a fuel rewards program but occasionally has in its weekly ad an offer for a $10 gift card when you buy $50 in groceries.

Find out: 10 Simple Ways to Save Money on Cars

2. Run errands strategically

With fuel costs expected to rise to unprecedented prices per gallon, your days of hopping in the car to run one-stop errands are probably over if you want to save money on gas. Put some thought into where you need to drive during the day to cut down on miles you drive.

For example, instead of coming home from work and running to the grocery store or pharmacy later, stop on the way home while you’re already out.

Find out: 9 Ways to Save Money on Car Repairs

3. Hit the road on a bike or scooter

The best way to save on gas is simply to use less fuel. You can ride your bike to the drugstore or grocery store, for example. Buying a new or used motorcycle or scooter can be expensive, but if you use your new ride to run errands, you won’t use much gas at all.

Motorcycles can get anywhere from 35  all the way up to 70 mpg or greater. Depending on the motor, scooters may get up to 70 mpg. And if you don’t mind not going faster than 40 mph, a moped may get “triple-digit” gas mileage, according to State Farm Insurance.

4. Gas up across the state line (or don’t)

Gas prices vary by state, so if you live in a city where you have easy access to a neighboring state, you may find lower fuel prices across the state line.

This strategy can also work the other way, so be careful. Crossing the state line for fuel can also mean paying higher prices per gallon in the neighboring state. Be careful on road trips, too, filling up in a state with lower gas prices instead of waiting to hit the pump in a higher-priced state.

“In some extreme cases, drivers can spend an extra $25 when refueling the tank if on the wrong side of the line,” according to GasBuddy. Want to keep track of how much gas costs per gallon in your city or state? You can find average gas prices by region and state at GasBuddy.com.

5. Pay attention to how you drive

Driving aggressively by speeding, accelerating rapidly and sudden braking can use more gas, so drive slower and more carefully around town to cut down on fuel usage. Sensible driving can help you save from 10 percent to 40 percent on fuel usage, according to fueleconomy.gov.

6. Use cruise control on the highway

When driving on freeway commutes and long trips, use your vehicle’s cruise control when it’s safe to do so. “Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a constant speed and, in most cases, will save gas,” according to fueleconomy.gov.

7. Stay on top of car maintenance

Fixing a car that’s out of tune can improve gas mileage by as much as four percent, according to fueleconomy.gov. Repairing a more serious problem such as a bad oxygen sensor can improve mpg by as much as 40 percent.

Other factors that can improve gas mileage include keeping your tires properly inflated and using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil.

8. Sell or trade in that gas-guzzler

If you want to save on gas, maybe it’s time to sell that gas-guzzling truck or SUV and buy a more economical vehicle with a smaller gas tank and better fuel efficiency. In fact, this latest fuel crisis could prompt you to even purchase a hybrid, which has a gasoline engine combined with an electric motor. You might even want to purchase an electric vehicle (EV).

You may spend more at first but long-term fuel savings could make a hybrid or EV purchase worthwhile. Some hybrids don’t cost much more than a traditional vehicle.

For example, the 2022 Honda Accord Sport Hybrid’s MSRP costs ponly about $2,100 more than the non-hybrid model and gets around 43 combined mpg. This hybrid model can help you save more than $800 per year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

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About the Author

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp is a full-time freelance writer based in Kansas City, Mo. Deb went from being unable to get approved for a credit card or loan 20 years ago to having excellent credit today and becoming a homeowner. Deb learned her lessons about money the hard way. Now she wants to share them to help you pay down debt, fix your credit and quit being broke all the time. Deb's personal finance and credit articles have been published at Credit Karma and The Huffington Post.

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