Whether you drive a Hummer H2 gas-guzzler or a new Prius, pretty much everyone who owns a car ends up spending a ton of money every year at the gas pump. The average household spends $250 every month on gas and that’s about $3,000 a year. That’s no insignificant amount of money, people! Hell, for $3,000, you could buy an entire car instead of just the gas!
But for most of us, driving is a necessity. We have to get to work, we have to pick up the kids from school, or whatever else. So, in this article, I’m going to teach you 5 easy ways to save a ton of money at the gas pump. And, hopefully, we’re going to free up some room in your budget for other things, like maybe even a sweet new ride! And you can get the best price on a used car with our Ideal Car Strategies, the best place for car buying advice. These are the 5 easiest ways to save money on gas. Let’s go!
Drive More Efficiently – Go Less Aggressive
The first tip for saving money on gas might not be all that easy for you super-aggressive drivers out there. Yeah, I’m talking to you, New Jersey, you Turnpike-terrorizing maniacs. But, if you’re really set on spending less money on gas, you’ve got to start driving more efficiently!
Now, to be honest, changing the way you drive might not save you thousands of dollars. But when combined with the other tips on this list, it can really add up. “But, Brad, what do you mean I should change the way I drive? Do you mean I can’t Tokyo Drift around my neighborhood and do donuts in the parking lot?” Well, no, not exactly. But maybe, you know, just keep it to the weekends.
In a study conducted by Edmunds, they found that aggressive driving (meaning rapid acceleration, cruising at high speeds, and braking sharply instead of just coasting) could use as much as 38% more gas than if you adopted a calmer driving style. So, what I’m trying to tell you is to take a chill pill, put on your favorite podcast, and just relax on the road. It’ll make the streets safer and save you a bunch of money when it’s time to fill up.
Another quick tip that Edmunds recommended is to keep your tire pressure at the manufacturer’s recommended level. It’ll make your ride feel better and also save you money on gas. Alright, so those were some ways to save money while you’re on the road, but how about when you’re actually standing at the gas station? Well, the kind of gas you buy could actually be costing you a bunch of money that you could be saving.
Stop Using Premium Gas – Premium Pickpocket
According to AAA, Americans waste an entire $2 billion collectively per year on premium gas. That’s absurd. In fact, our Ideal Cars channel has an entire video about why premium gas is a total scam! But the skinny of it is that, in most cases, using premium fuel doesn’t significantly increase your horsepower, doesn’t reduce your car’s emissions, and doesn’t increase your fuel economy whatsoever.
So, why do people use it at all? And why does it even exist? Well, there are some cars that actually require premium fuel. You know, the luxury beasts with high-compression engines. If you drive one of those cars, don’t skimp out. Buy the premium fuel. But, if you drive a normal car like a Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla, don’t go wasting money on premium fuel and expecting it to make your car perform better. It won’t, and you’ll just end up with an unnecessary hole in your wallet.
I won’t get too much into the science of it, but the difference between premium and regular gas is the octane, which is just a rating of how much compression the gas can handle before it detonates. And if you’re driving a regular car that doesn’t generate that much compression, premium gas does nothing for you.
What is actually important is the detergent additives that companies put in gas that’re meant to clean your engine as you drive. And certain gas stations have better detergents than others. So, do you research. But in terms of regular versus premium gas, go with the regular unless your car really needs it. And, honestly, I wouldn’t buy a car that requires premium if I were in the market for a new car.
And that brings me to my next point. If you really, really, really want to save some money on gas, the very best way is by getting a fuel-efficient car.
Get a Fuel-Efficient Car – Goodbye Gas-Guzzler
That’s right, it’s not rocket science. The kind of car that you drive makes the biggest difference in terms of how much you spend at the gas pump. If you’re cruising around in a massive, high-horsepower SUV, obviously you’re going to need to fill up more than if you have a little compact or a hybrid.
And, listen, I’m a car guy. I just bought myself an Audi R8. You think a supercar like that gets great gas mileage? Nope. And some of us need big pickup trucks for work or SUVs so we can take our families on vacation. And some of us just want to go fast!
But, if you’re number one priority is freeing up room in your budget, then you should be looking for the cars with the highest MPGs possible. Hey, guess what? Our Ideal Cars channel has a couple of videos about the best fuel-efficient cars for cheap! Check them out if you’re in the market for a new ride!
Maybe even consider getting a hybrid or an electric car. Sure, they usually cost a lot upfront, but they’ll save you a ton in fuel costs over their lifespan. And if you’re set on a gas-powered car, you should check out a Hyundai Elantra or a Honda Accord. They’re some of the most economical gas-powered cars on the road.
Alright, alright, I get it, you love your car and you’re not willing to give it up even if it means getting better fuel economy. To be honest, that’s a hill I’d die on too. But, fear not, there are other ways that you can make your gas bill a little lighter! And it really comes down to, well, paying less for gas. Do I mean you should drive around the country looking for the best prices? Hell no! You’ll see what I mean…
Buy Cheaper Gas – Price Tracking
So, in case you haven’t noticed, some gas stations offer cheaper prices for the same exact fuel. Why? Well, it’s like any other business. Some gas companies have more efficient supply chains and are just able to undercut their competitors’ prices. It’s what makes the world go round! And that’s great for you because it means that you can choose to go to the station that has the lowest prices.
But does it make sense to drive all the way across town just to get a few cents shaved off your gas prices? Probably not. However, there are apps out there that will show you where the lowest gas prices along your route are. One of these apps is called GasBuddy. You basically just enter where you’re going and it will pull a bunch of data and show you where to stop to get the cheapest prices at the pump. This is great for long road trips where you’re burning through an entire tank and where you’re passing through several states and gas prices are differing heavily.
Want to save even more money? Join a warehouse club like Costco. And if the Costco near you offers gas, you can go fill up there and earn rewards for it! The difference in gas prices between a local major brand gas station and a pump at a warehouse club can be huge, so you’ll save cash every time you go there to buy fuel. Plus, you’ll be earning points that you can use to buy your groceries or whatever inside the store. It’s a win-win!
Alright, now for the final tip to spend less on gas. And if you’re a huge car guy like me, you also might not like this one. But it really is important. It’s good for your wallet, good for the environment, and good for your body. Yeah, you can save money by simply driving less.
Drive Less – Get Out the Gary Fisher
I know, I know, it’s easy to get lazy and just hop in your car and drive where you might want to go. But if that supermarket is right down the street, why not take a walk and get a little work out while you’re doing your grocery shopping? Or you could get that old bicycle out of the garage and take that for a spin.
If you can get into the habit of walking or biking places instead of driving, you’re going to end up saving a whole bunch of money on gas. And, as an added bonus, you’re going to reduce your carbon footprint. And, come on, we all love Mother Earth. Plus, it’ll be great for your health. That way, when it is time to hop in the car and drive down to the shore for the weekend, you’ll be more than ready with that beach body. And who doesn’t want that?
So, if you love yourself, love the Earth, and love saving money, try to walk or ride a bicycle instead of drive whenever you can. If you still want to go joyriding every once in a while, go for it. But driving less, on the whole, is definitely going to help your wallet.