9 Easy Ways to Save Money on Gas

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With a gallon of gas $1.38 more than it was last year, drivers are keen to save on fuel costs.

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Gas prices have been averaging about $4.24 per gallon nationwide for a few weeks. That’s a welcome respite from the high of $4.33 earlier in the month, but still up $1.38 from a year ago.

Over the course of a year, that’s about $2,000 extra the average two-car American household will spend on fuel than they did in 2021.

Rising oil costs, increased demand, pricier summer gas blends and the war in Ukraine have all contributed to elevated fuel prices.

You can’t control the cost of gas, but you don’t need to feel helpless, either. Read on to learn tips to save money at the pump, including gas trackers, improved fuel efficiency, club memberships and more.

1. Track local prices and find the best gas station

GasBuddy is a well-known website for tracking gas prices in the US and Canada. It also provides data for the US Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy’s gas tracker pages. Both sites share data but present the information in different ways — try them both to see which you prefer. GasBuddy is available on the web or via mobile apps for Android and iOS, although critics have raised concerns about its data tracking and privacy policies.

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Geico also provides a helpful local gas station tracker: Enter an address, city or ZIP code plus a maximum distance area, and Geico will return a detailed list and map with regular, mid-grade and premium gas prices as well as directions to stations.

AAA provides a gas price tracker in its mobile app (Android, iOS), as does Gas Guru (Android, iOS), and you can check gas prices in your vicinity when using navigation apps like Waze or Google Maps.

2. Get money back from gas credit cards and fuel rewards programs

Major gas stations typically offer credit cards and reward programs that give you a percentage back. Speedy Rewards offers a $25 gift card when you reach 500 points, or 50 gallons of gas. At $4.25 a gallon, that’s nearly 12% back.

Shell and BP claim you’ll save at least 5 cents per gallon with their respective reward programs, and ExxonMobil says you’ll get at least 3 cents off. Be sure to review the terms of each program to see exactly what percentage of your gas spending you’ll be getting back.

Supermarket chains also offer rewards programs: For every $100 you spend on groceries at Safeway or Kroger for example, you’ll get 10 cents off gasoline the next time you fill up. Kroger works with Shell and Kroger Fuel Centers, while Safeway’s program works with Chevron, Texaco and Safeway stations.

3. Pay for gas with cash instead of debit or credit

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GasBuddy shows both credit and cash prices if there is a difference.

Screenshot by Peter Butler/CNET

The practice of charging less on gasoline for customers paying cash varies by region and from gas station to station: In Los Angeles, several gas stations offer 20-cent discounts for cash, especially for premium gas.

That difference can quickly add up: You would save $3 every time you completely fill a 15-gallon tank, or $156 a year if you top off weekly. (Just watch those ATM fees: if you’re paying $2 to $3 to get your cash each time, you’re losing money.)

4. Check your tire pressure

Making sure your tires are properly inflated can boost gas mileage by 3%, according to the US Department of Energy. At current prices, that could save you almost 13 cents per gallon.

But 60% of car owners only check their tire pressure if an indicator light turns on, according to Jiffy Lube’s Vehicle Maintenance Survey. A tire pressure gauge can monitor the health of your tires and only costs about $10 to $20.

When tires wear down to a depth of 1/16th of an inch, they’re considered “bald,” and should be replaced right away.

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Google Maps will recommend routes designed to save gas.

Screenshot by Cliff Colby/CNET

5. Map your route

Google Maps can also boost your miles per gallon by recommending certain routes that avoid hills and traffic, resulting ideally in more constant driving speeds. Fuel-efficient routes are available on the mobile Android and iOS apps, though the feature hasn’t been rolled out to all users yet.

To turn on fuel efficiency in Google Maps, tap the three dots on the directions screen, then tap “Route options” and toggle the “Prefer fuel-efficient routes” option on.

Other fuel-tracking mobile apps like Fuelio and JerryCan provide methods for improving your fuel efficiency as well as tracking gas prices at stations. JerryCan claims that drivers using its app can improve their fuel efficiency by up to 20%.

6. Hypermiling

In short, hypermiling is the practice of maximizing fuel efficiency to the ultimate degree, from choosing routes that require less braking and accelerating to cleaning out your trunk to lower your vehicle’s weight.

Hypermilers might even park facing the sun when it’s cold to conserve energy spent defrosting their windshield, and in the shade when it’s cool to save on AC.

Below, CNET editor Brian Cooley explains how drivers can adapt extreme hypermiling techniques to increase their own fuel efficiency.

7. Try a club membership for discounted gas prices

costco, Sam’s Club and Walmart Plus all offer discounted gas prices to members. Walmart Plus charges 5 cents less at its fueling centers, plus access to all Sam’s Club locations. Memberships cost $13 a month or $98 a year, while Sam’s Club memberships range between $45 and $100 per year.

Costco fuel prices are almost always significantly lower than at traditional gas stations. On March 9, The Street reported the average price of regular gas at Costco was $3.69 per gallon, 56 cents cheaper than the national average. Costco memberships cost between $60 and $120 per year.

Warning: Due to the recent price spike, gas lines at Costco have become notoriously long.

8. Buy discounted gas cards through resellers

Gift cards are a popular choice for easy presents, but as you might expect, not all of those gift cards get used. A variety of resellers let consumers hock their unused gift cards or buy them on the cheap.

raise and Gift Card Granny are two sites that let users buy and sell unused gift cards from Chevon, Texaco, Shell, BP and other gas providers. As you might guess, most discounted gas gift cards are sold out right now, but you can set up alerts for when new ones come in.

Be careful to check the current price discount and other specifics of any card — both sites also sell gift cards at retail rates, and Gift Card Granny also sells reward cards.

9. Consider bicycles, public transit and electric vehicles

Soaring gas prices provide a timely opportunity to wean yourself off gasoline-based transportation. Riding a bike or using public transit more often will obviously help decrease your gasoline costs.

Similarly, if you can afford an electric vehicle it will certainly reduce your gas usage. It’s not just Tesla — Hyundai, Ford, Porsche, Audi and many other automakers are producing electric cars now. Bonus: you’ll be fighting pollution and climate change at the same time as you’re saving money.

Check-out CNET Roadshow’s list of the best electric vehicles to learn about the latest and greatest EV cars.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

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