Ask the Readers: How Do You Save at the Pump?

By Ashley Jacobs on 17 April 2012 (Updated 24 April 2012) 99 comments
Photo: Guian Bolisay

Editor's Note: Congratulations to FredB, Therese, kristy ot for winning this week's contest!

Filling up your car with gas is getting more and more paiful as gas prices continue to climb. Many people continue to bite the bullet and pay an arm and a leg at the pump while others are choosing to find ways to cut back on how much they spend on gas.

How do you save on at the pump? Do you carpool? Make sure to keep your vehicle maintained well? Or do you opt to use public transportation?

Tell us how you save at the pump and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — one for random comments, one for random Facebook "Likes", and another one for random tweets.

Mandatory Entry: 

  • Post your answer in the comments below 

For extra entries (1 per action):

  • Go to our Facebook page, "Like" us, and leave a comment on this article telling us you did, or
  • Tweet your answer. You have to be a follower of our @wisebread account. Include both "@wisebread" and "#WBAsk" in your tweet so we'll see it and count it. Leave a link to your tweet (click the timestamp for the individual URL) in a separate comment.

If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, April 23rd at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after April 23rd on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.
  • You can enter all three drawings — once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.
  • You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.

Good Luck!

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Guest's picture
Ridefree

While our vehicles are diesel and the prices are higher we do save at the pump. Doing repairs and upgrades to dad's house, my house and are shared garages we buy gift cards at the local grocery stores that offer fuel perks. Buy enough to get the 30 gallons free. we fill up 2 cars or one pickup. If it is a large ticket item we need, we buy enough for the free 30 gallons and I take the pickup with a 90 gallon fuel tank in the bed, get 30 free gallons, he purchases more gift cards, and I get another 30 gallons free. We have a tank we share that I transfer the fuel into at home. We have enough fuel for all summer now. All free.

Guest's picture
Guest

We have a fundraiser card that gives 0.04 off/gal at one major gas station. One grocery store gives cents off based on purchase. I use both which can save up to 0.14/gal. We also gas up early or late in the day because the price changes around 2pm.

Guest's picture
OFG

I try to consolidate trips as often as possible. I plan to go to the grocery store, drug store and anywhere else I need to go all at the same time. It actually saves me time and gas.

Guest's picture
Christie

I make as few trips to the pump as possible! That means combining trips to town with appts and staying home as much as I can. If I'm doing well in a month, I fill up once every 3 or 4 weeks at this point. Of course, being 4 miles from our small town helps!

Guest's picture
jennifer

Carpooling cuts my gas spending in half, but I also try to not drive unless necessary and to combine trips whenever possible.

Guest's picture
NancyH

I combine a number of tactics to maximize savings on gasoline.
1. Keep tabs on usage by calculating gas mileage at each fill-up
2. Calculate the fuel cost of routine trips and alter my driving patterns and routes
3. Map the shortest driving routes
4. Fill up at the lowest-price station along my regular routes. This station also happens to apply a discount when using a supermarket loyalty card for an even lower price.
6. Pay cash when the cash price is lower than the credit-card price. This means I have to plan to have cash on hand.
5. Combine errands; never drive for one errand only
6. Drive smoothly and more slowly than I used to

Guest's picture
Alicia

When we bought our home two years ago, it was very important for us to buy somewhere that was walkable to a variety of amenities. We can (and do!) walk to the supermarket, restaurants, bars, the dog park, the library, the post office and a slew of other places. While I can't walk to work, it's less than 6 miles round-trip, which is hard to beat. If my husband isn't working from home, that means he's travelling for business, and the airport is less than 10 miles away. When we do use the car to go farther afield to the mall or visit friends and family, we try to combine trips and make a day of being out and about. Sometimes, we might go a few weeks between refilling the gas tank. Using less gas is the best way to save!

Guest's picture
Garrett

I avoid speeding. Driving under 60 mph gives better gas mileage.

Guest's picture
rm

I started working from home to avoid high fuel prices. Definitely recommend it if you're able to work it out with your employer.

Guest's picture
Amanda

I live 30 miles from almost everything and there is no public transportation in between. I do my best to consolidate errands when I do have to go to town, and I try to make sure to fill up on that end where the prices are a little better.

Guest's picture
Amanda

https://twitter.com/#!/abczoomom/status/192246706094620672

Guest's picture
Stacy L.

I most frequently get gas at the pumps at my grocery store. For each dollar you spend in the store, you get a gas rewards point - and 100 points = $0.10/gal off your gas purchase. This week I'll get $0.40 off!

Guest's picture
Amanda

Like Wisebread on Fb

Guest's picture
Carson

I save at the pump by using an iphone app that allows me to find the least expensive gas station in my neighborhood. Aside from that, I just keep my car well maintained and drive very lightly around town (NO out of town driving AT ALL). Because of these tactics, I only fill up once every 10 days or so.

Guest's picture
Linsco

To save at the pump, besides the myriad of other great ideas that abound out there, I have a shopping list that encompasses all the stores I need to go to, by store or by business, then I plan my route by simply numbering each store in the order I need to drive to them, so that I'm driving as little as possible. So my list might say "Target" and I will list the things I need there, "Costco" and I will list the things I only might buy there, and "hardware store" and list the things I might only be able to get there, "bank", etc., then when I go out that day, I put them in the most efficient order on my route. (This is especially important because I do not live close to town.) I do this rather than having one big general shopping/errand list. I know this can be done electronically through apps, but for now, this works for me to quickly jot down things I need or need to do in the categories as I list them. Even if you live close to the stores, it all adds up. I'm also doing a lot more online shopping for regular items, to cut out the trips to the store altogether, but only if I get free shipping!

Guest's picture
NJJ

I make sure to get tune ups as necessary and around holidays and my birthday I hint at gas gift cards so I can use them in the spring and summer when gas prices seem to spike. I also use mobile apps to help find the best deals when I'm out running errands. I also try to combine all my trips when I can so that way I only have to fill up once or twice a week. Lastly I'm also lucky enough to have a recycling center on my way in and out of town. When I get enough cans or recyclables I put that money towards the gas tank so I can have a special outing or two with breaking the budget

Guest's picture
Alex J

This time of year I try and bike as much as possible.

Guest's picture

YES!!

I'm always amazed when I read articles about saving at the pump (it seems there have been many lately) that biking never seems to be mentioned. Driving less and biking more is the best way - great for your health, the environment, and for your wallet. I watch people in my neighborhood drive away and return 5 minutes later, then hop back in the car and drive away and return 30 minutes later, etc...

Guest's picture

Our best way to save at the pump, is to save up gas points at the grocery store. Sometimes we can get over 50 cents off per gallon! If we don't have any gas points saved up, I can always use my Sheetz card -- it'll give me 3 cents off per gallon every time. :)

Guest's picture
Nicholas

The only thing I can do is maintain my car.
If I tried Public Transportation it would take me 2.5 hours to get to work compared to 20 min by car.

Guest's picture
Nicholas

I have wisebread liked on facebook.

Guest's picture
Jason Evans

Go to Sams Club for all my gas

Guest's picture
Jennifer

I have cut out all unnecessary driving. I basically drive to work, the grocery, the bank, and home. Unfortunately this means I have temporarily given up my favorite hobby, hiking, because I am a 30 minute drive from hiking trails. :-( Walking around the neighborhood isn't nearly as fun!

Guest's picture
NancyH

Jennifer, what a shame to give up the soul-sustaining pleasure of hiking. What about getting a group together to carpool to the trails and share the gas cost? I do that for birdwatching.

Guest's picture
Chris

I ride my bike to and from work 5 days a week. The pump rarely sees me.

Guest's picture
Brenda Faulkner

I use a grocery store reward card.

Guest's picture
Brenda Faulkner

I "like" you on Facebook!

Guest's picture
Margaret Davis

I have three primary ways to save at the pump. 1) Fuel up at my warehouse club. The 5 - 10 cent difference in cost per gallon has more than saved me my membership fee. 2) Drive at speed limit. I know this frustrates many people driving around me (doing 70 on a 55 highway) but I've noticed that simply reducing my speed increases my MPG. 3) Don't drive. My husband and I have condensed all the necessary (and plannable) errands to Saturday morning. We plan our route based on what needs to be done. We frequently pack coolers, etc. so we don't have to run home simply becuase we have perishables in the car. This has made us pre-plan what we need so we aren't popping out to get this or that and makes errands much shorter because our focus is to get as much done as fast as possible and get home to put things away. Once we are home - we don't go back out. It is really amazing the mileage and fuel used for the "quick" errands after work etc.

Guest's picture
Christie

Commented on the Facebook post too! :)

Guest's picture
Tyler Patrick

I mostly save at the pump some by using my Chase Freedom card. During the first 3 months of the year, I earned 5% cashback on all my gas purchases. Also, I now earn 1% cash back. It adds up pretty quickly even though it is small.

Guest's picture

I make my husband fill the tank so I never see how much it costs.

Guest's picture
FredB

Buy premium gas. This assumes you get premium gas without ethanol. We buy gas by the gallon but we use it by the mile. Mileage is so much better with ethanol free premium that the cost per mile is lower than for regular.

Bonus tip: Get a Diesel. My 2005 Jeep Liberty is one of the fairly rare Diesel versions. The on board computer tells me I am getting 29.5 MPG. That's 50% better than the gas engine Nissan Pathfinder it replaced.

Guest's picture
Guest

I save on gas by going to gasbuddy.com and searching for the lowest gas prices in my area. I also try to get oil changes regularly and carpool whenever I can.

Guest's picture

Perhaps counter-intuitive, but I bought 2 new motorcycles.

One is perhaps the fastest bike on the market, a 1400 Kawasaki. The other is a Honda scooter. The Kawasaki is so much fun, I use only my vehicle when I absolutely have to. The Kawasaki gets around 35m/gal and the Honda 85/gal.

Today I'm taking the Honda on a long ride around LA, around 100 miles.

Guest's picture
KelR1

I have a pretty fuel-efficient vehicle, and I do keep it maintained (regular oil changes, properly inflated tires, etc.). I also use coupons at the gas station and, one of our local gas chains doubles your coupon every Tuesday, so I try to fill up on Tuesdays. I often save around $0.25 a gallon that way.

Guest's picture
KelR1

Like you on FB.

Guest's picture
KelR1

Tweeted answer:

https://twitter.com/#!/KelRo1/status/192299366336307201

Guest's picture

I save at the pump by checking my GasBuddy app before leaving the house to make sure I get the cheapest price. I also just pump Regular!

Guest's picture

https://twitter.com/#!/missluckybreaks/status/192301485281906690

Guest's picture

Liked you on FB!

Guest's picture
Eric

I bought a fuel efficient, small car. It does the saving for me.

Guest's picture
Aissa

I signed up for my company's subsidy on public transportation. When I get a monthly train pass, I can take the connecting buses free, and the entire amount is free for me!

Guest's picture
Patrick

I drive 5 mph slower than I otherwise would, check my tire pressure more frequently and will likely buy a new (used) car that is more fuel efficient than I otherwise would have.

Guest's picture
Happy Love

I drive a bit slower than the rest of traffic. The interstate speed limit in my state is 75 mph, but I set my cruise control at 70 mph. The speed limit on the state highways is 65 mph, but I set my cruise for 60.

I also compare gas prices for three places that I know to have lower prices than everywhere else. Sam's Club is frequenly, but not always, the cheapest location for me to fill up.

Guest's picture

I bought a car that uses the cheap gas. And I walk to work three times a week.

Guest's picture
Kim

I've been trying to consolidate trips a lot. Walking instead of driving if it's a short distance. Checking our tire pressure more regularly. Giving ourselves a 'mileage budget' for the month.

Guest's picture
DuserCyclist

Bicycle commuting is the way to go if you have a safe route to work. I've been doing it a minimum of 2x's a week. The exercise is great and the gas savings can be substantial. Riding is very inexpensive, you get great exercise, maintenance isn't too bad, but the entry costs for new riders can be a little high. Especially if you have to deal with inclement weather. I have an 11 mile route one-way and can do it at right around 1 hour at my slowest pace (12 mph average).

Guest's picture
Silence

i only buy on tuesday...the 20 cents off per gallon day!

Guest's picture
renee

my grocery store runs a points program so I can save 15 cents on a gallon PLUS they always have the cheapest price on fuel in our town

Guest's picture
renee

i LIKE your facebook page

Guest's picture
renee

tweet https://twitter.com/#!/ReneeAChapman/status/192320699581476865

Guest's picture
Chioma

I take advantage of periodic deals at my neighborhood Publix to save 20% off gas prices. The deal is advertised in the Publix circular in the newspaper. The deal is that for every $25 worth of groceries (before coupons!) you purchase, you can purchase a $50 gas gift card for $40! Hot whoa, I know!

Guest's picture
noride

Sold my car about a year ago. Ride the commuter trains up to work and then rely on public transportation when in the city. Living in Chicago makes this pretty hassle free.

Guest's picture
Sandra

Stay home!

Guest's picture
Diane

I save at the pump by combining errands. I'm fortunate to work at home, so I don't have to drive every day. I also maintain my vehicle to reduce fuel consumption. Next go round I will purchase a more fuel efficient vehicle~!

Guest's picture
Diane

I like Wisebread on FB!

Guest's picture
Squeezer

I use a cashback credit card for all of my gas purchases. I also pay attention to the gas stations around my house. There are several clustered together, and usually the independent ones are less expensive than the retail brands.

Guest's picture
Kate

I really only drive my car on longer weekend trips. I don't drive to work, and I try to consolidate errands if I need to do one that isn't within walking distance.

Guest's picture
Therese

I use public transportation or walk most of the time.

Guest's picture
DeeDee

One of our grocery stores will give $1.00 off a gallon of gas up to 20 gallons if you fill a prescription at their pharmacy and I drive more slowly than I used to and set the cruise control.

Guest's picture
Guest

Drive a hybrid. Also we use gasbuddy.com and sign up for Murphy USA's e-offers. Last summer they had several gas coupons

Guest's picture
Guest

I turn my ignition off at all busy intersections with lights. My car is ten years old and I don't worry about the car not starting. I save only 30 minutes a week of gas, but I am a retired automotive design engineer from Detroit, Mi. and choose my trips carefully.

Guest's picture
kristy ot

I moved to be very close to work. And now I'm saving up for a bike.

Guest's picture
Sara N

I use my Giants reward card and don't drive more than necessary!

Guest's picture
Patrick Sievert

We (my wife and I) simply don't drive much. We consolidate our trips. We walk when we can. I have a company vehicle that I use for work, so if I can stop and pick up groceries in it on the way home, I do. Despite the fact that we took an 820 mile round-trip mini-vacation earlier this year, we've still only spend a total of $319 on gas so far in 2012.

Guest's picture
Lynda

i go to costco for cheaper gas. and we've cut back on long-distance driving unless if we have to.

Guest's picture
Lynda

i like wisebread on fb

Guest's picture
Lynda

tweeted https://twitter.com/#!/oshkoshbgosh123/status/192465390838886401

Guest's picture
Devon

Bike as much as I can for errands close to home.

Guest's picture
kristina

I run many of my errands on foot.

Guest's picture
Monica

We shop at the same grocery store, and buy gas there as well. We get gas discounts for what we spend in groceries.

Guest's picture
Monica

I am a fan on facebook!

Guest's picture
Monica

I tweeted https://twitter.com/#!/Monzarts/status/192596486968713217

Guest's picture
Stephen W.

My wife and I don't eat out much, so we do a lot less driving. We also spend a lot at our nearby grocery store where we earn gas rewards. Last month we got 90 cents off per gallon! I also make sure my car is well maintained. I just inflated the tires this week to make sure they are all at the proper PSIG. This ensures that my car is both safe and efficient.

Guest's picture
Spencer

I have two methods of "saving at the pump". First is to drive less. I am lucky enough (or foresighted enough) to live in a city with good public transportation, and also to live within walking distance of my job. Thus, most days, I don't need to drive to and from work.

The second thing I do is to use GasBuddy to find cheaper gas near to me. I won't drive out of my way for a few cents, but I will choose one nearby station over another when the first is cheaper. I have the GasBuddy app on my iDevice, so I can always find cheap gas near me.

Guest's picture
mkibrick

As of today, I drive with ZipCar where I don't have to pay for gas. DH fills up his car at Costco where prices are always 5-10 cents cheaper.

Guest's picture

I use an iphone app called GasBuddy to find the cheapest gas around me. I also try not to drive too aggressive.

Guest's picture
Rebecca B. A. R.

We just drive a lot less. I also try to fill up completely when prices are low(er). I also try to keep up on car maintenance and keep our tires inflated correctly.

Guest's picture
Tyler S.

I go for the Publix gas card deals whenever they come around ($10 off a $50 gas card when you spend X amount on groceries), and also have the Chase Freedom card, which offered 5% back on all gas last quarter, now grocery stores, so 5% back on gas cards there!

Guest's picture
Alissa A

I walk places on the weekends and make sure I run errands together instead of making separate trips.

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TrishB

I run all my errands on the way home from work. I also rarely go anywhere on weekends, but I'm somewhat agoraphobic so it's not as much of a hardship for me as it would be for most people.

Guest's picture

I use a cash back credit card on my gas purchases to reduce the price a bit. I've also found a local station that consistently has prices $0.05-$0.08 lower than everyone else in town.

The last thing I do is car pool. I'm lucky that I work close to my girlfriend, so usually once a week we car pool to work together to save a little bit.

Guest's picture
Guest

Two way I save at the pump: First, I shop at Safeway and get discounts on gas of 10, 20 or 30 cents per gallon. As a result, I have yet to pay $4 for gas. Second, I take the bus as often as I can. We have free bus service, so the saving on gas doing that is 100 percent.

Guest's picture
Abby B.

My husband and I carpool to work now. Not only does it save gas, but it saves me from sitting in traffic :)

Guest's picture
Betty

I try to walk as much as possible. I do have to drive to work. Once home, almost everything I need is pretty local.

Guest's picture
Michelle

I use gas buddy or I use our grocery card rewards.

Guest's picture
Cari

I have to drive for work, so I use software to plan my routes so they are most efficient. Other methods:
1. I keep track of which stations have the lower prices on average, and if I see one that is significantly lower I will fill up.
2. I avoid drive-through lanes whenever possible.
3. I keep my car maintained per the manufacturer's schedule and get my tire pressure checked (free) monthly.

Guest's picture
Cari

I *like* Wise Bread on Facebook

Guest's picture
Ashleighpaigh

I use a GasBuddy, a free I phone app. I also fill my tank up when it is half way full.

Guest's picture
Michelle Murphy

I use the Wal-Mart discover card which gives me $.05 off of every gallon of gas. They seem to be pretty competitive in pricing already. I also try to combine trips to save driving anywhere extra for one thing.

Guest's picture
Bridget Galbraith

Grocery store points can take .10 and more off per gallon, sometimes you get cents of per gallon by purchasing a fuel card, map quest has a feature that allows you to search for the cheapest gas in your zip code, and we stay home more. :)

Guest's picture
MELISSA HANSSON

My husband and I save money by owning only one car. He gets a free monthly transit pass through his job, as well. We also plan ahead so we can always go to the same gas station, with the lowest prices.

Guest's picture
MELISSA HANSSON

"Liked" you on Facebook! Thanks for the great giveaways.

Guest's picture

You can try buying gas gift cards at grocery stores. For example, ARCO only takes debit cards, but most Albertson's in SoCal sell ARCO gift cards. My AMEX gold gets double points on groceries so I buy the gift cards, get double points and get to use ARCO with a 'credit card'. Saves a few bucks every time!

Guest's picture
cwaltz

I don't drive so that cuts down on gasoline costs in our household. My spouse does drive and we save our shopping points to take a dollar a off a fill up monthly. Sometimes if they quadruple points for gift cards we are even able to get 2 fill ups for the month.

Christine

Guest's picture

I use a Meijer credit card for gas, and fill up most often at the Meijer gas station which (in addition to usually having the lowest prices) takes 5 cents off per gallon when I use the card. I also subscribe to text alerts from Meijer so they notify me when the price is about to go up. I also get points on those purchases which go toward discounts on my groceries. AND I pay the balance on the card every month, so I pay no interest and receive only benefits.

Guest's picture
Carmen

I try and keep my vehicle well-maintained, tires inflated, and I don't speed or do quick starts or stops.

Guest's picture
Carmen

I like you on Facebook

Guest's picture
Whiskers

The only way we save on fuel is by not driving anywhere for pleasure that we don't absolutely have to. Plus we fill up as soon as we are 1/4 tank low, it doesn't hurt as much!