You’ve heard all the advice about keeping your tires properly inflated and not carting around a trunk full of junk or idling endlessly at school pickups or when waiting for a friend. You know how not to waste gas — what you need is solid advice on how to save money buying it.
Try our six tips for getting the best deals on gas every week.
1. Buy gas early in the week. The general consensus is that retailers start raising weekly gas prices around the middle of week. This won’t be true every week, but it’s a safe enough trend that you should probably aim to hit the gas station earlier in the week rather than later. Another timing trick: Plan to top off your tank three days before a holiday. Gas prices almost always rise right before a holiday, so fill up before you feel the pinch.
2. Choose a low-octane fuel. It’s a pretty good bet your car will perform just fine on regular unleaded — and if it does, you won’t gain any performance benefits from buying a more expensive gas. And if you live at a high altitude, your vehicle will drive fine on gas with even lower octane ratings. Some high-performance cars do require higher octane gas, so always check your owner’s manual to be sure.
3. Don’t be a brand snob. The big difference between brands of gasoline today is a little bit of additives. That’s not going to make a big impact on your performance or gas mileage, so let go of your logo preferences and fill up where the prices are lowest.
4. Join a loyalty club. Your neighborhood grocery or discount store probably offers a loyalty card that can save you money at its gas pumps, too. With the PenFed Platinum Rewards Signature Visa card, you’ll earn points for supermarket purchases — so head to the grocery store and save money inside and at the pump, too.
5. Sign up for a credit card that earns you points or even cash back for gas purchases. Earn points for gas paid at the pump with the PenFed Platinum Rewards Signature Visa card — and for a limited time (until April 4, 2014), earn 5 points. Or try the PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards Visa card, which gives you 3% to 5% cash back on gas paid at the pump. That’s money in your pocket!
6. Use an app to find the best deals on gas nearby. Hop online and consult online gas websites to search for the best deals by city, state or ZIP code. If you prefer an app you can use on the fly, there are plenty for Android or iOS. Just don’t be tempted to drive miles out of your way to get to a cheaper gas station — that would defeat the entire purpose!