Energy Economy

Fuel Prices Are Down, but You Can Still Save at the Pump

The U.S. has seen fuel prices continue to fall after the mid-terms, which is especially helpful during the holiday season. Still, as food costs remain high and interest rates soar, most Americans are still experiencing the very real effects of record-high inflation.

As the Federal Reserve prepares to increase rates for the seventh time this year, it becomes crucial to cut costs wherever possible. And while gas prices have leveled off, you can implement some additional saving measures without much effort.

Simple Tips To Reduce Fuel Costs

While your wallet has likely been feeling the pinch, your hands aren’t tied; figuring out how to save money on gas doesn’t have to be complicated. Try some of these easy ways to save money on gas.

Get Your Gas for Free

Using cashback websites and apps is an easy way to earn free gift cards. Cash out your rewards for a gift card to your local gas station, Visa gift card, or PayPal transfer, and use it to cover your next tank.

Try popular rewards sites like Fetch Rewards, Rakuten, Dosh, and Upside. In addition, many of these sites offer a welcome bonus and lucrative referral programs.

Earn Rewards

There are several ways to earn rewards, and while not all of them will directly get you a lower price at the pump, they can help you put some extra money in your pocket.

Most grocery stores now offer customers a loyalty program to help them save money on groceries and incentivize them to shop. Grocery chains often have a gas rewards program as well, which allows customers to earn rewards based on the amount of money they spend in the store.

When a customer fills up their tank at the grocery store, they can apply the gas rewards they’ve earned to reduce the cost of their gas purchase.

Taking advantage of these programs can considerably impact the average gas price you end up paying over time.

However, most gas reward programs restrict the timeframe to redeem your rewards and the number of gallons of gas you can purchase at the discounted price. It’s a good idea to understand the program’s limitations to avoid missing out on cheap gas.

In addition to grocery stores, most gas stations also offer loyalty programs that allow you to earn rewards and discounts on fuel purchases.

Improve Your Fuel Efficiency

Many factors contribute to fuel efficiency. A good portion of an engine’s fuel efficiency depends on the engineering of the engine itself. Still, there are many ways you can improve fuel efficiency.

  1. Maintain recommended pressure in tires: Proper tire pressure leads to less fuel consumption.
  2. Find your sweet spot: Driving too fast or too slow uses more fuel. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests sticking to the speed limit as gas mileage quickly decreases once you exceed 50mph.
  3. Lose some weight: No, not you, your car! The lighter your vehicle and its load, the less fuel it consumes. Don’t use your vehicle as a storage shed; ditch the bike and roof rack when possible.
  4. Take care of your vehicle: Keep up with oil and air filter changes, rotate your tires, and attend to other regular maintenance. These steps help your vehicle perform its best.

Reduce Your Fuel Consumption

Driving less results in decreased gas expenses. A few options to avoid getting behind the wheel are:

  • Taking public transportation
  • Carpool with friends or co-workers
  • Walk, run, bike, skate, or skip
  • Adjust your schedule to work from home when possible
  • Relocate (extreme, yes, but worth a mention)

Modify Your Driving Habits

Changing the way you drive can be difficult, as is changing any habit. Still, modifying some of your driving habits can reduce fuel costs over time.

Combine Errands

Reduce the number of trips you make by combining your errands and appointments. Choose a designated errand day and accomplish everything you need in one trip.

Schedule your appointments on that same day, whenever possible, and tackle your errands around your appointments. Although this option may not work for many people, modify it as needed to fit your particular schedule to save time and gas.

Know When To Use Air Conditioning

Generally speaking, air conditioner use does save gas at higher speeds. But when driving at slower speeds, open windows are the best way to cool your car.

Change Your Schedule

Your schedule isn’t necessarily a “driving habit;” however, it greatly impacts when you are driving, which can affect your driving habits.

For instance, when driving during rush hour, you may be more prone to aggressive driving as you deal with congested roadways and traffic jams.

Changing the time you arrive at the office or when you leave can help you avoid traffic and reduce travel time.

Change Your Route

If your daily drive home consists of city driving, you’ll save gas if you take an alternative route – driving on the highway. Maintaining consistent highway speeds is more efficient and avoids rapid acceleration, which requires more fuel.

When a highway route is not an option, conserve fuel by avoiding aggressive driving, slamming on your breaks at a red light, and allowing your vehicle to idle for extended periods.

Switch to an Electric Vehicle

Most people are not in the position to run out and buy a new car – especially a pricey electric model amidst a time of high inflation. However, if you are currently car shopping, it’s a great time to look at electric cars.

Unfortunately, the prices are usually higher than their gas-guzzling counterparts; that’s offset by ridding your budget of that pesky gas bill.

If you’re not ready to make the leap or can’t afford to, consider splitting the difference with a plug-in hybrid. Unlike a fully electric vehicle, a hybrid vehicle still uses fuel. However, it doesn’t use as much fuel as a traditional gas-powered vehicle.

According to Consumer Reports, a hybrid saves around 2.38 gallons of gas over a gas-only sedan during a 500-mile road trip.

*Gas-only sedan 30 mpg 16.67 gals used

*Hybrid sedan 35 mpg 14.29 gals used

*Difference = 2.38 gals saved

Take Action

Finding ways to lower gas costs or get free gas is possible with some effort. So take action and put one – or many – of these tips into practice to create more margin in your monthly budget and reduce stressful trips to the pump.

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

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