3 Secrets to Saving Money at the Pump

With a little work, you too could be saving as much as $480 a year using these tips.

rising Gas Prices
Toby Talbot/AP
By Joshua Rodriguez

Gas is one of the most substantial household expenses for many families. I know it's a pretty big expense for mine. However, throughout the past couple of years, I've been trying to live a more frugal life. That involves looking for ways to pay less. Today, I'm going to share some secrets I've found that can save you a pretty penny at the pump.

Secret No. 1: Look for local deals.

When we look for local deals, we often think about coupon clipping for a few bucks saved at the local grocery store. However, that's not the only place you can save money locally. For instance, in my area, and to the best of my knowledge, in all of Oregon, shopping at Safeway (SWY) can save you money on gas. They have a rewards program and a partnership with Chevron which allows me to save up to $1 a gallon when I fill up. Do a little research online to see if there are any loyalty based gas rewards programs in your area.

Secret No. 2: Use gas station credit cards.

I know how annoying it can be to be asked, "Would you like to sign up for our credit card?" at the pump, but it's important to remember that doing so could save you a ton of money.
The general reluctance to sign up stems from our fear that credit cards will lead us to overwhelming debt. That only happens if you let it. Credit cards also have the potential to save you a ton of money, if used correctly.

Most gas station credit cards give you 10 percent off at the pump as well as rewards points when you use the card. If you do the math, you generally earn 10 to 12 percent savings when you use gas station cards. The key is not paying interest on your purchases. After all, how great can 12 percent really be if you're paying 20 percent to get it? The good news is avoiding interest really isn't all that hard.

To avoid paying interest on your gas rewards credit card, simply pay your card off every time you fill up. The truth is credit cards have grace periods. If you pay your balance in full within the grace period, you won't be charged interest. By paying your card off the day you fill up, you'll be sure to make it within your grace period, meaning you won't have to pay for your rewards.

Secret No. 3: Use your smartphone.

We use our phones for everything else these days; why not use them to save money on gas? Some apps directly help to save money at the pump and some help in round about ways if you think outside the box. Here are a few examples.

iGasUp: This is one of those apps that directly helps you to save money at the pump. Using this app, you can find the ten cheapest gas stations closest to your current location. Choose the station you want to go to and it will even give you directions on how to get there. The most amazing part to me is how accurate it is. It gets its pricing data through real time credit card transactions.

Google Maps: One of the easiest ways to spend a ton of money on gas unnecessarily is to get lost. Making sure this app is on your phone will help ensure that you don't get lost, wasting gas in the process.

Carticipate: If you're a social extrovert like me, you'll love Carticipate. One of the best ways to save money on gas is to carpool. Carticipate is an awesome app that helps bring carpoolers together. Not only will it save you money on gas, it can help you meet some pretty cool people.

Gas is expensive, we all know that. However, these simple tips can save you quite a bit over the course of a year. By my calculations, following the secrets above, I save between $40 and $60 a month on gas, depending on how much I drive that much. That means these three simple steps save me $480 a year at the very minimum. I hope they do the same for you.

Joshua Rodriguez is a personal finance writer with ModestMoney.com. Connect with him on Google Plus.

More from U.S. News

Why Did Gas Prices Shoot Up Again?

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Banking Services 101

Understand your bank's services, and how to get the most from them

View Course »

Building Credit from Scratch

Start building credit...now.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

You can save money with all parts of driving.. For example:
1) Get gas from Gasbuddy (save like $10 at the pump each time)
2) Get insurance from Insurance Panda (found $33/month full coverage)
3) Drive a cheap car to drive and repair (I drive a Honda Civic)
You can save in all aspects of your life.. just gotta suck it up.. The leftover money you can put into a bank account. A penny saved is a penny earned...

March 01 2014 at 12:07 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

My secret is, i dont go anywhere, just to work and out getting necessities.
Guess what that means? Im not out spending money, so they can take their gas and shove it!!
Its a win win for me.

February 27 2014 at 8:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No Gas shortage, Its a scam. every time a little event happens anywhere in the world, The price goes way up. Has nothing to do with access to oil, Just Pure ******* greed. For those of you that are old enough came out in the mid 70"s They said it cost more to refine it,, There was never any lead in the oil in the first place, It was an anti-knock compound added to the gas . Remember what it said on the pumps.. ( this gas contains Lead additive compound which reduces knocking and pings in your engine) Yes that was right on the side of the pumps.. They added it to the gas, charged more for not adding to the gas any more. So now they charge what ever they want now.

February 27 2014 at 12:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Buy $20.00 worth of gas instead of $30.00 worth and you will save $10.00. This answer is just as intelligent as this mind-mush article.

February 26 2014 at 11:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Really, Chevron? Rapists of the environment and murderers of indigenous Indians? You recommend them?

February 26 2014 at 9:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Many, if not most, gas cards have sky high interest. Try a points reward card from your own bank. Rates are MUCH lower, especially if you have to carry a balance, and you have the option of switching purchase points from gas to another necessary item (food, medicine, etc) every three months.

February 26 2014 at 6:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What gas credit card gives 10% off at the pump?

February 26 2014 at 5:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hey! Here's #4: Don't go anywhere unless you really have to!!!!

February 26 2014 at 5:39 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

iGasUp does not exist in the iPhone apps search. Thanks for nothing.

February 26 2014 at 5:06 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Phil's comment

Try Gas Buddy. Works like a charm.

February 26 2014 at 6:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ethanol vs. pure gasoline:

a) any vehicle made since about 2000, perhaps a bit before has nitrile O-rings and other 'rubber' parts in the fuel system. Many manufacturers (Bosch, for instance) even well before that. So, ethanol will have no deleterious effect on the fuel system.

b) Ethanol-content gasoline burns a bit cleaner than straight gasoline - so there is some benefit there.

c) Ethanol raises the combustion-point in low-octane gasoline, and so reduces knocking - so there is some benefit there.

The benefits of all this are completely eliminated by the fact that we are burning our fuel-supply to make gasoline - the absolute pinnacle of stupidity. The price of food around the world is higher because here in the US, WE want cheap fuel. Keep in mind that the (mandated) use of ethanol in US gasoline formula began in 2005 under GWB - and it was his pet policy to support US farmers and reduce US dependence on "Foreign Oil". Note also that Henry Ford had cars that ran exclusively on corn-methanol very early on - before 1910, anyway.

As to Sea Foam - hardly a practical solution given its cost.

And, as to longevity, of our last nine vehicles (including our present three), none have gone less than 150,000 miles in our hands, and all left our hands running just fine. Yes, three of them were diesels, but the other six were (and are) not. It is my considered opinion that those who express reservations on ethanol-based gasoline are blaming the material rather than a more likely cause - lack of proper maintenance.

February 26 2014 at 4:59 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to pfjw's comment

s an insider secret to ethanol. Ethanol is actually alcohol. Unlike gasoline which burns well at a 14 to 1 ratio, ethanol burns at 7 to 1 or twice as much ethanol for the same mixture as gasoline. If you switched your vehicle getting 24 mpgs on gas to pure ethanol, you'll get 12 mpgs.

February 26 2014 at 5:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to alfredschrader's comment
Tom Wilson

If you switched your vehicle getting 24 mpgs on gas to pure ethanol, you'll get 12 mpgs.***** Even modern engines will not run on pure ethanol. The blend at 10% has been a stretch for engine manufactures ant the bill to move to 15% has threaten the EPA with industry wide law suits.

February 26 2014 at 9:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down