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Fuel for Thought: What's The Best Way to Save on Gas?

As summer gets closer, gas prices continue to climb. This doesn't mean you have to table your road trip plans. Here are 3 ways to keep your wallet plump at the pump:

High Gas Prices and How to Save Money on Gas

Yep, those prices sound about right!

Store Loyalty Programs

Many grocery stores across the country, like CubGiant Foods, and Food 4 Less, offer gas rewards programs.  A popular one is Kroger's Rewards Card, which gets you one point for every dollar you spend on groceries, and double points on gift cards. The points can be used to fill up at Kroger gas stations.  You can combine it with their 1-2-3 Rewards Visa, which saves you $0.25 off a gallon during the first 3 months once you meet certain point levels. Or, check out the RewardsPoints program at Safeway, which gets you 50 gas points every time you fill a prescription, in addition to points on general purchases.

To maximize these benefits, choose a store that you shop at regularly, and that has a gas station with competitive rates.  Also check out how many gallons you're allowed to get discounted each time you're at the pump (ie. you want to fill up your 20-gallon gas tank, but the rewards may only be applied to 5 gallons at each visit). This will help you determine whether the program is the right fit for you!

Credit Card Rewards

Several credit cards have gas rewards built into them, like cash back on gas purchases or points you can use to pay for your next refuel. The popular American Express Cash Back Preferred gets you an unlimited 3% cash back on gas purchases. It does have a $75 annual fee, but it's offset by a $100 welcome bonus. Or, check out the Chase Freedom card, which bags around 3% back yearly on gas purchases (as well as cash back on many other categories) with no annual fee.

The BP Visa Card by Chase nets a $0.15 per gallon rebate for every $100 in BP purchases, and the Discover Open Roads Card, offers double Cash Back Bonus points on your first $250 in gas station purchases each month (plus an unlimited 1% cash back on the rest).

I know we say this all the time, but always be sure to read the fine print. The cash back rate may vary from quarter to quarter, or your rewards may be capped at a certain point. Also, check out whether the cash back on gas purchases is reported separately from your general purchases (otherwise, you'll only know how much you got back on general credit card purchases, not gas-specific ones). Your safest bet would be a general use card like the AmEx or Chase Freedom, because you'll get points no matter what you buy or when you buy it.

Gift Cards

A simple way to get a straight-forward discount is by purchasing gift cards from a discount seller. Sites like GiftCards.com and Plastic Jungle resell gift cards to Costco and Chevron at a discounted price (like this $100 Chevron card on sale for $98). Although it only saves you around $2 off each gift card, it can add up over time! These cards are typically discounted less than 5% off their face value (so you'll likely never get an amazing 50% off deal) but the savings are clear-cut; you know how much you're saving every time you use them.

Free Online Tools

Check out MapQuest's Gas Prices tool and the AAA Fuel Finder to map out low-priced gas stations and calculate fuel costs. Or, try Gas Price Watch and Gas Buddy to find the lowest gas prices near you. Both have smartphone apps so you compare prices on the go!

Nothing beats first-hand experience, so we'd love to know which programs or cards you've used, and how they have worked. How do you save money on gas? And how successful have you been with programs and cards like these? Drop a comment below and let us know!

Sign up for Brad's Daily Alerts for more helpful tips like these, along with the best daily online deals, contest alerts and more!

Photo: AgentAkit (Flickr)

 

About the Author: Marisa Lang

Marisa is an editor and blogger at BradsDeals. She loves cheap home decor, hunting down hard-to-find sales, and figuring out how to travel anywhere on a budget.

20 Responses to “Fuel for Thought: What's The Best Way to Save on Gas?”

  1. Rich Wilson says:

    After running lots of numbers, I’ve never found anything cheaper than paying cash for the cheapest gas (ones that don’t take credit cards because their profit margin is so low they can’t afford to. The low profit margin is good, for YOU). And never buy anything in the convenience store, or you’ll throw away your entire savings.

    Part of the equation is that store loyalty cards are often per fill up, (up to a maximum number of gallons). If you have a large tank you can make better use of that. If you have a smaller tank, then you get less total savings per dollar spent at the store.

    Never assume that just because you’re getting a discount you’re paying the least you can!

  2. Rebecca says:

    Murphy USA (associated with Wal-Mart) has something cool called MurPay. Basically, you text, pay, and go. It is that simple. You sign up for your free MurPay account. Before filling up, simply send a text message to 304050 with the amount you plan to spend (up to $125) on your Murphy USA visit, and they send you a MurPay code that you can enter at the pump. When you enter your MurPay code and the Customer Verification Number (CVN) you created upon signup, the gas price at the pump will automatically roll back to the cheapest gas price posted in the last 24 hours or 3 cents off per gallon, whichever is less. When you pay with MurPay, the money you spend is automatically debited from your checking account, without the hassles of carrying a card. MurPay only debits your account for the amount you spend. Fill up your tank and go!

  3. BRIAN C. CONNELLY says:

    HERE’S MORE WAYS TO SAVE ON GAS IF YOU SEE THE LIGHT TURN RED 50 YRDS OR MORE FROM YOU AND YOU KNOW YOUGOING TO HAVE TO STOP THEN CAREFULLY SLIP THE GEAR INTO NEUTRAL POSITION THEN WATCH THE ENGINE R. P. M’S DROP THEREBY USEING LESS GAS # 2 IF YOUR AT A NOTORIOUSLY LONG LIGHT, SHUT YOU ENGINE OFF #3 DONT USE HIGH TEST OR MID RANGE FUEL. USE REGULAR FUEL IN EVERY OTHE TANK. TRY NOT TO USE YOUR A/C AS IT HELPS SUCK UP THE FUEL AND & ALL CARS ENGINE LOSE ABOUT 15% OF ECONOMY WHEN THE A/C IS ON

  4. Susan A. says:

    In the Pgh. Area where I live, all the grocery stores will accept competitor’s coupons as well as price match as long as you have the ad with you. Why drive all over and waste time and gas, not to meNtion wear and tear on your car when you can shop at one store that offers gas perks.

  5. Brenda Babjak says:

    My husband and I keep an ongoing list of groceries and miscellaneous items needed from the stores. Then, once a week we make a gas-saving, planned trip to run errands and make purchases. WalMart will honor sale prices from other stores’ ads, so we take the competitor ads there and purchase groceries at the other stores’ prices. Making fewer well-planned shopping trips to fewer stores save us gasoline and money.

  6. joy w says:

    fuel up when it is cool in the summer. take excess weight/junk out of your vehicle. keep your tires aired properly

  7. Maureen says:

    Obama says that if we check the air in our tires we will save gas.

    • Lisa says:

      I doubt Obama has to check his own tires, but almost anyone will tell you that keeping the air pressure correct in your tires will save you money!

  8. Michelle says:

    If you have a truck leave your tailgate down, it makes your truck more arrow aerodynami. If your tailgate is down it creates a draft and slows your truck down and you use more gas trying to keep your speed. When you get gas, fuel up at night there is less evaporation because the sun is not out.

    • Laura says:

      FYI: There is a Mythbusters program where they test the tailgate open idea. They concluded that there is no benefit to keeping the tailgate open :0

  9. AwardWallet.com – Simple Point & Mile Tracker « Will Travel For Work says:

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  12. Ann C says:

    I have the Yellow Pages app on my phone. It will give you gas prices near your location.

  13. Ann C says:

    The Yellow Pages app on your phone will give you gas prices near your location.

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