Do you cringe when you watch the numbers tick up at the gas pump? Filling up the tank has become an increasingly expensive experience.
According to AAA, the current national average for gas is $3.31 a gallon -- that’s over a dollar more than it was a year ago.
And if you’re not shopping around, you’re probably paying a lot more than you have to.
GasBuddy is one of the top apps that helps you easily find the cheapest gas in your area, providing real-time gas prices.
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“We have fairly good coverage, we get about 11 million prices reported to us every week, covering those 150,000 stations in the US,” said Patrick De Haan, Head of Petroleum Analysis at GasBuddy.
“We essentially have a massive database of what stations are charging and motorists can use that to their advantage by knowing what the prices are around them and potentially finding the lowest price in the area saving them several hundred dollars a year,” De Haan added.
And doing a little research is worth your time.
“The gap between the lows and highs is about seventy cents a gallon between the lowest and highest prices and that certainly opens up an opportunity for motorists to spend less or spend more,” said De Haan. “If they aren’t checking the app, they may pull into a station that is selling at $3.59 or even $3.89 and there may be a cheaper station down the street. I can’t tell you how many times on social media somebody has filled their tank only to find a price that is twenty cents lower just a couple of blocks down.”
AAA also offers a fuel price finder with gas prices at more than 100,000 stations across the country.
“The majority of cars on the road today run just fine on regular gasoline. Don’t buy midgrade or premium if you don’t have to, if your car doesn’t require it,” said Mary Maguire of AAA Northeast.
If your gas station has a rewards program, take advantage of it.
If you have a membership to a warehouse club, you may get the best deals on gas there. And if you’re thinking about joining, the savings on gas alone may justify the cost of an annual membership.
Also, make sure you’re driving with fuel efficiency in mind.
“Slow down,” Maguire said. “When you slow down you’re far more fuel efficient and much safer on the road. There’s lots of other little things you can do. You can make sure your tires are properly inflated that will improve your fuel efficiency by three to five percent.”
And another obvious way to save on gas is to drive less.
Resist the urge to run out every time you need something. Instead, plan ahead, make a list, and do all of your errands in one trip. You could potentially save yourself a lot of money that way.