There are many expenses in life we just have to deal with, and the price of gas is one of them. Watching the price per gallon can feel like a roller coaster ride with the way it spike up and slide down. With these tips for how to save on gas you don’t have to feel that you have no control over the amount you spend at the pump.
10 Tips for How to Save on Gas
Gas prices fluctuate a lot. I’m very happy that we’re not hovering around $4.00 a gallon any more, but even with our current prices a fill-up can get costly.
That is why several years back I took the time to research how to save on gas. Getting more miles per gallon isn’t all that difficult. It might just mean modifying how you do some things.
Watch Your Speed
As busy moms we’re all rushing from one place to another, but driving too fast to get to our next place on time can cost a lot more than a speeding ticket. According to www.fueleconomy.gov you can expect to pay an extra $0.25 per gallon for every 5 mph that you drive over 50 mph.
That means that you’ll pay an extra dollar per gallon if you just drive at the posted highway speed limit of 70 mph. Multiply that by the number of gallons your tank holds and you’ll see just how much money you’re adding every time you fill up.
Of course driving 50 mph on the highway just to save money isn’t always the best idea. It’s far more important for your safety to drive with traffic, so find a safe speed between flying and being pushed down the road.
We’ve all been on the highway at some point dealing with a driver that is driving steady by jerks. The one that speeds by you, only to then slow down in front of you, so you pass them and the cycle repeats. Driving this way is not only annoying, but it’s a big waste of gas.
Speeding up and slowing down plays havoc with your gas use, but you can prevent that by setting your cruise control. For me it doesn’t matter whether I’m driving on city roads or the highway. If I’m driving at least 45 mph I’ll put the cruise on. I must say that I have been able see significant improvement with my gas use with this trick.
Take Care of Your Car
One thing I hate doing is going to get my oil changed. I always feel like the techs working give me grief when I’m there because I’m female. Even though it’s a task I hate I still make sure I do it because regular car maintenance is important not only for your the life of your car but also for keeping your gas costs down.
You want to make sure that you get your cars oil changed every 5,000 miles. You also want to make sure that you keep your tires inflated and that you change the air filter periodically.
Another important thing is to make sure that you clean your car out often. The heavier your car is the more gas you’ll use. So when mommy brain takes over and you leave the new cat litter in the trunk for a week like I did last month you’re costing yourself money. Luckily for me it was lightweight litter so it didn’t add much weight!
A dog may be man’s best friend, but I swear a drive-through is a mom’s best friend. Whether it was because Nick was a sick baby sleeping or I just didn’t want to deal with the hassle of getting him in and out his car seat, I have never been as grateful for drive-throughs as I have since becoming a mom. Sadly though using the drive-through can cost you a lot of money in gas.
When you can it’s far better to park the car and go in instead of using the drive-through. Also, if you get stuck at a long red light, or in stopped traffic, you’ll save on gas by putting your car in park. Just make sure that you’re paying attention to when traffic starts again.
Be Particular of Where You Buy Gas
Once you live somewhere long enough you start to notice things such as what gas stations often have lower gas prices. It doesn’t always work out that way, but if you need gas it’s a good idea to head towards the cheaper spots.
Club stores such as Sam’s Club commonly have lower gas prices, and I know ours doesn’t rush to raise their prices. Many grocery stores such as Kroger also offer fuel rewards. With Kroger you get an automatic three cents per gallon off on every fill up and making purchases at Kroger can help you earn even more money off each gallon.
Many gas stations now offer their own reward programs as well. My favorite right now is the Shell Fuel Rewards Program. Everyone automatically starts off in the Gold Status program which gives you five cents off per gallon at each fill up for your first 3 months in the program. After that you can maintain that status by filling up 6 times (with 5 gallons or more) during a 3 month period. If you don’t do that then you drop to the Silver Status which gives you three cents off per gallon. There are also ways that you can earn more money off such as shopping online, or using a linked credit card while dining out. It really is a great program. It actually saved us a lot of money on our vacation to Walt Disney World over the summer.
Something else to consider is what station has the best gas. For example, I used to find I could go a lot farther on one tank of gas when I filled up at BP. Their Invigorate gas is pretty great. The BP near my house now usually has much higher gas prices though so it’s no longer my best choice.
This is one of my best tips to not only save on gas, but for time management as well. whenever you can plan out your errands for the day and the most fuel efficient way to get to them. For example, when Nick was in daycare we would hit the grocery store on the way home to save me an additional trip.
Even better, if you can, plan one day a week to run all your errands to save trips back and forth. Another idea is to run errands while your kids are having practice. There are lots of ways to combine trips and activities to help save on gas.
Figure Out the Best Day to Buy Gas
This is actually my least favorite tip. Still other people remark on it all the time, so I felt I should add it. Many people say that the best day of the week to buy gas is on Wednesday. The theory for this being that gas usually goes up in price on Thursday in preparation for the weekend. I’ve watched for this one, and I haven’t found it to be true, but maybe it’s just my area.
That being said, I do recommend paying attention to things such as hurricanes and big holidays. These type of events often cause gas prices to go up, so it would be good to fill up ahead of them.
The Price of Gas
While you may have a good idea of where the lowest gas prices are it’s hard to know for sure. There are a lot of great apps out there though that can help you figure it out. Gas Buddy is a popular and well liked app and it’s free. Check it out here on Amazon, or here for iOS.
I don’t know one busy mom that doesn’t feel like she’s driving all over the place all the time. If possible cut back on all that driving by car pooling. Take turns driving kids to sports with another mom from the team that lives nearby. Are you and your neighbor both driving kids to and from school every day? Work together and have one of you drive in the morning and one in the afternoon.
When you start a car pool everyone saves on gas. Plus you might find a little extra time to get things done! Talk about an awesome bonus!
Buy a New Car
Alright, so this tip may seem like a step back. Here I am telling you to spend money to save money. This tip certainly isn’t for everyone, but I suggest thinking about it if you have an old gas guzzler. The difference between the amount of miles you could go per gallon between an old and new car can be huge!
As moms we’re crazy busy driving around all the time. That not only eats up our time, but our weekly budget too. I hope these tips on how save on gas brings you financial relief at the pump.