4 ways to fill your gas tank without emptying your wallet

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A few smart tips can help you save in good times and bad.

Key points

  • Even small price differences can help you save over time.
  • Look for opportunities to earn rewards through credit cards and gas stations.

The national average gas price climbed to more than $4.43 a gallon as of May 13, according to AAA. That’s $1.41 more than the average a year ago. I know I’m not the only driver feeling the pinch, but luckily I know a few tricks to help save money at the pump even in times like these. Here are a few to try.

1. Comparison store

Chances are there is more than one gas station in your area, and while they might have similar prices, there might be slight differences in their prices. Even if you only save $0.25 per gallon, that’s $3.75 saved on a 15 gallon tank. And if you fill up your car twice a week, that’s $7.50. In a year, you could save up to $390 this way.

You may be able to identify the cheapest gas stations just by paying attention to signs while driving. But there are also gas station comparison apps, like GasBuddy, that you can use to find the cheapest gas near you. Some also have rewards programs that can help you save even more.

2. Carpooling

If you have coworkers in your area, carpooling to work can save you money and help the environment. You can ask your passengers to contribute a little and this way you all save. Or if you and your spouse have errands to run, you can combine them into one trip rather than taking separate trips.

And of course, skipping the car journey is an option if you live in an area with a good public transport system. Take a bus or subway, or try walking or cycling now that the weather is warming up.

3. Use your credit card rewards

If you have a cash back credit card, you may be able to redeem reward points for a gas station gift card. It might only cover a gas bill here and there, but every little bit counts. And if you don’t have a rewards credit card, consider opening one. Look for one that matches your spending habits so you can rack up rewards quickly.

Another option is to assign your rewards to a credit on your bill to free up money for gas.

4. Ask about gas station rewards programs

Some gas stations have rewards programs to encourage customers to stay loyal to its brand. These programs give you a rewards card that you can use at the pump whenever you buy gas and when you buy food or other items inside. Once you have accumulated enough rewards, you can redeem them for fuel discounts.

Find out what gas stations in your area offer. If there are several gas stations with rewards programs, see which one offers the best value. You can also use rewards programs with multiple gas stations, although you can’t rack up rewards as quickly as you would by sticking with one brand. And finally, remember to keep your eyes peeled for coupons or other savings opportunities at the pump.

Hopefully gas prices come back down soon, but until then, the tips above should help ease some of the pressure on your bank account.

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