If you’ve filled up your car with gas lately, then you’ve likely experienced some amount of sticker shock at the pump. Commuting, road-tripping or just running errands around town will now cost you a pretty penny.
While there’s not much you can do about high gas prices, there are a few ways to lower the cost of filling up your tank in 2023. Here are 11 of them:
1. Use a Gas Price App
2. Buy Regular Gas (Not Premium)
If your car doesn’t specifically require premium gas, switch to regular unleaded, which is almost always cheaper.
3. Use a Grocery Fuel Rewards Program
Most grocery stores offer rewards programs that can get you gas discounts, based on points you accumulate when you spend money in their stores. In some cases, like Kroger or Albertsons, they even have their own fuel centers. For others, like Piggly Wiggly, you’ll need to look up the participating gas stations that accept the discounts.
4. Fill Up on Mondays or Fridays
If you can be strategic about when you fill up your car, you may be able to save some cash at the pump. After sorting through gas price data from 2021, GasBuddy found that, on average, prices were cheapest on Monday, followed by Friday. Thursday was the most expensive day, on average.
5. Maintain Your Vehicle
Here’s yet another reason to keep up with basic car maintenance: Doing so can keep your fuel costs down. You lose about 0.2% of your gas mileage for each pound per square inch that your tire deflates, per NerdWallet. Putting fresh oil in your car can also help it run more smoothly and efficiently, which translates to better gas mileage.
Another maintenance issue: Make sure your gas cap is completely secure. A poorly sealed gas cap can let gas evaporate.
6. Drive the Speed Limit
When you’re on an interstate or highway, you may be tempted to put the pedal to the metal and go as fast as the speed limit allows. But if you decide to drive faster than 50 miles per hour, you’ll be paying for it later. That’s because your car gets worse gas mileage at speeds above that number.
Every 5 miles per hour you drive over 50 miles per hour is equivalent to paying $0.30 more per gallon of gas, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. (This fuel economy calculation is based on a gas price of $4.32 per gallon.) The federal agency also says you can boost your fuel economy by 7% to 14% if you slow down by 5 to 10 mph.
Also helpful: Use a navigation app or GPS device to map out the most direct route to where you’re going.
7. Be a Smooth (Car) Operator
To get the best gas mileage, your motto ought to be “easy does it.” Basically, try to avoid accelerating quickly or braking hard, and drive at a consistent speed as often as you are able. If you can anticipate a familiar stop, ease up on the gas so you coast into it. See if you can slow down enough that by the time you reach it, the light is green and you can avoid stopping altogether. (Slowing down and speeding up is better for gas mileage than stopping completely and starting again.)
If you do have to stop, take off slowly from a stopped position. Maintain a safe distance behind the car ahead, to lessen the chance of having to brake suddenly. Be a “Steady Eddy” and let tailgaters pass you.
8. Don’t Put Your Engine To Work Unnecessarily
One of the easiest ways to use less gas (and, thus, save money?) Combine errands. Pick up prescriptions or grab dinner while you are already out and about, rather than taking separate trips.
9. Lighten Up (Literally) and Don’t Use a Roof Rack or Carrier
The heavier the car, the harder your engine has to work (and the more gas it has to use). Are you stowing heavy items in the hatchback? Are you toting a roof rack and carrier for your extra belongings? If you can, try to shed some of this weight to help improve your car’s fuel economy.
10. Join a Warehouse Club
Warehouse clubs — like Sam’s Club, Costco or BJ’s — often have on-site gas stations that offer discounted fuel for members. Though you’ll have to pay for a membership, you may find that the savings you get on gas alone are worth it, not to mention other great deals on household items.
11. Get a Gas Credit Card
Rewards credit cards come in many varieties. If you spend a lot of time driving, a gas credit card might be worth your while. These cards give you a certain percentage of cash back for dollars you spend on gas — the higher the percentage, the more money you get back each month. Just be sure you pay off your balance in full every month so you don’t end up spending more because of interest.