Ask the Readers: How Do You Save on Gas?

By Ashley Jacobs on 3 September 2013 (Updated 10 September 2013) 67 comments

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Carolyn, Elena, and Peg for winning this week's contest!

If you drive a car, you can count on gas to eat up a decent chunk of your budget on the regular. Different people use different strategies to save on gas, like using a fuel efficient car, changing their driving habits, or giving up on driving altogether.

How do you save on gas? Do you use any apps, programs, or websites in your strategy? Have you made big lifestyle changes in response to high gas prices?

Tell us how you save on gas 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 — here's how you can win!

Mandatory Entry:

  • Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

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    Giveaway Rules:

    • Contest ends Monday, September 9th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after September 9th 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.
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Good Luck!

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Guest's picture
Mary Happymommy

I bought a more fuel efficient car to save on gas, even though it's smaller than I'd like it to be.

Guest's picture
Spencer

Whenever I'm going somewhere within a five mile radius I choose to bike!

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Tyler

How do you save on gas?
My main gas saving strategy is living in a place where I can walk to work and many other places I frequent.

Do you use any apps, programs, or websites in your strategy?
I use Kroger Fuel points and buy gift cards for sites such as Amazon during their 4x fuel point promotions. Also, I use my Amex Blue Cash preferred and buy Kroger gift cards to use on gas and get 6% back!

Have you made big lifestyle changes in response to high gas prices?
I previously drove everyday to work but now I mainly walk.

Guest's picture
Debbie M

Take a bus to work, walk to close destinations, choose a fuel-efficient car, use a calm driving style, keep tires inflated, keep superfluous items out of the car, combine errands.

Guest's picture
Monica

We have a jeep... so we don't save much! Just kidding... we have to try to save up where we can so we can take the jeep out fourwheeling more often. We save by whoever is driving the farthest takes the commuter car or my husband will sometimes take the motorcycle. We then only drive the jeep if we need to or if its for an outing.

We also do one of the grocery store rewards programs, when we buy all of our groceries at the closest store we get points that equal out to 10 cents off of gas. It helps out a little.

I also try to shop around for better gas prices just by looking at where we are on gas and making sure I get the best price on the way home from wherever we are going. I look at all the prices on our way to wherever we are going and then choose the best place on the return trip.

I try to keep a full tank when gas prices are climbing (fill up more often) and a half empty tank when gas prices are dropping (let them drop more before I fill up) it doesn't always work out but sometimes I do well.

Guest's picture
Holly S

I always use the GasBuddy app on my iphone to check out where the cheapest gas is close to me before I head out to fill up.

Guest's picture
Al

I use http://www.automatic.com/. its a device that connects to your car's ODB port and it reads the car's computer and relays it to your iphone or android. its app displays your route, your speed, any hard breaks, how much gas you used and it gives you a driving score for the week with suggestions on how to improve. It also allows you to set alerts like going over a certain speed, when you did a hard acceleration or a hard break, all things that impact gas mileage. It will tell you why your check engine light went on, what needs to be fixed and it will reset the light for you. The other neat thing is that it will show you on a map where you parked your car!

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Alix

If the trip is a mile or less, I walk! (I know, it should be a limit of two to three miles, but if you're carrying ice cream in 90-degree weather, it sort of defeats the purpose.) I've read that taking lots of very short trips isn't good for the car's engine anyway, so hopefully I'm helping to extend the life of my vehicle as well.

Guest's picture
OFG

Consolidate trips. It's easier with a toddler anyway. It takes awhile to pile him in the car, so it's actually easier to make multiple steps all in one day anyway.

Guest's picture
Margaret

I save on gas by a) not "jack-rabbitting" at stop lights and b) leaving the house a few minutes earlier in the morning to avoid the majority of the traffic. When I made these changes I found I was getting about 30 miles more per tank of gas.

Guest's picture
KJ

Mostly just common sense habits:
- combining trips
- check ahead for needed items during the week and grab them on the way home
- planning your route to avoid backtracking
- avioding the impluse trips and waiting until they fit in with other scheduled trips
- paying attention to gas prices along our routes and hitting the ones that are cheaper on a regular basis

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kristina

I walk when I can.....which is to quite a lot of places. I also take the bus.

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Jae Walton

I keep up with my oil changes and observe tire pressure. When running errands, I mentally map them out so I'm not driving all over the city wasting gas.

Guest's picture

I pump a full tank and use my trusty app GasBuddy!

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Josh

a lot of gas stations and grocery stores offer discounts for paying with cash, but personally I gas up at Wal-Mart which offers a permanent 3 cent per gallon discount, and often runs promos with discounts of 5 to up to 25 cents off per gallon.

On top of that, it's a WalMart Discover card, so there's a 1% cashback on top of that. Just be sure to of course pay off in full before the end of the month!

Guest's picture
Marie Winter

To save on gas, I constantly plan ahead with my driving. If I know I have to go a long distance one day, I try to space out other long trips for another week. I may be using the same amount of gas, but that helps me fit the cost into my budget and track just how much I'm spending, which makes me think twice about some trips!

Guest's picture
Kim

It seems obvious, but I list my errands and plan the best route to get them all done most efficiently. I use the maps app on my phone.

Donna Freedman's picture

When I moved in with my partner I made a conscious decision to remain a one-car household. This isn't possible for everyone but it works for us because I'm a home-based worker. When I need to get somewhere I walk or take the bus; occasionally I drive him to work so I can use his car.
Again, this won't work for everyone. But the relief of not having a car payment and an insurance premium far outweighs the occasional aggravation of "How am I going to get there?"

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Gina

Keep the tires properly inflated. Also, use rewards programs like MyPoints to earn points and then redeem them for gas gift cards.

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Betty D.

I walk walk whenever and where ever I can. I love walking. My commute to work is not walkable, but most of my errands and entertainment spots are.

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Peg Mooers

Drive 55 miles an hour and not brake often if possible.

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Catherine

I ride my bike whenever I can to save on gas. I was a member of a grocery store gas rewards program for a few years, but it was recently discontinued. I may sign up for SA's rewards, saving 3 cents a gallon. I also combine trips whenever possible and carpool to events that friends or family are also attending.

Guest's picture
Amanda Sakovitz

I use fuel rewards programs

Guest's picture
KelR1

My husband and I share one car. I try to limit unnecessary driving. I use gas coupons from local circulars, and I try to fill up on Double Coupon Day at a local gas station that accepts competitor coupons when possible.

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Amy

Mostly by combining as many trips as possible.

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Rusty

I like to combine all my errands in one trip. I'll park downtown, go to the shops, dry cleaning, etc... and on the weekends, have lunch and head for home.

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April

A small change I recently learned about is using fuel injector cleaner every 6 months to keep your engine running clean and efficient. It makes a difference in gas mileage!

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Kristen

I make sure to do all my errands in one trip.

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Ernest S.

I switched to a Prius a couple of years ago, and have been getting 50+ MPG on most tanks. Since my job requires me to travel across town for different clients, I am definitely benefiting from the increased fuel economy. I also use the Gas Buddy app on my phone which helps me find the cheapest gas stations at my location.

Guest's picture
Shannon

I've definitely changed my habits. I use public transportation/walk/carpool whenever I can and generally only use my car on the weekends for some errands.

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MELISSA HANSSON

I've been lucky a couple times and bought gift cards at Safeway that provided me with lots of gas points that I could redeem for cheap gas. Most of the time I just go to the same station that has the cheapest prices in my neighborhood.

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Christina

I don't use any apps, I do try to keep an eye on the price of gas if I pass a station to keep up with the cheapest of the stations that I pass in in usual driving patterns (I won't go out of my way for cheaper gas), and I try to consolidate trips and errands.

Guest's picture
The Fun Mom

We "trip share" with other families. The other family & us deside where we'd like to go then we cruise off.The cost of gas & motel is only 1/2 the cost when we do this way and it is fun! We have done this with several families and been able to go places we would not have otherwise been able to afford.
I car pool with 2 other families on bring & picking up our schoolage children. We take a full week of playing taxi then the next 2 weeks, the other mom's get their turn at it. This saves us gas & time
Since we live 3 blocks away from downtown in our town, we walk to the stores. (We use the car to go to a neighboring town 50 miles away.)

Guest's picture
Christopher Yeung

Searched for house after getting a job. Purchased within 2 miles of work. Can walk or bike. Only fill car once a month or less.

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Elena

I save on gas by driving less

Guest's picture
Mel

Mass transit when I can. Keep the car well maintained with full tires.

Guest's picture
Liisa

I save on gas by trying to stick to my neighborhood gas station with good prices, and by grouping errands according to the areas I will be working in that day. (I drive to my clients' homes). We also try to take the car with better gas mileage when we go on road trips.

Guest's picture
Guest

I decided a long time ago to never have a long commute to any job. Most have required a short drive, or I could just walk or take a bus. If I can walk to something, I never drive to it. I'm easy on the gas pedal and tend to get very good mileage when I do have to drive somewhere.

Guest's picture
Lynda

i try to get gas at costco. i also try to combine my errands.

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Bethany

I pop it out of gear when I'm going down hill.

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Christie

Frist way: Stay at home as much as possible. Second: Combine errands and trips to town. Third: Live close to town without living in town. Works great!

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Meme Ledbetter

We purhased a hybrid. I also try to avoid left turns.

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Nancy

We live in the suburbs so a car is almost a necessity. I save on gas in many ways. 1) Buy from the cheapest source (Costco or a nearby supermarket) and pay the lower cash price if there is one. 2) Work from home. 3) Patronize local businesses, gang up errands and plan routes to reduce miles. 4) Walk. I'm fortunate that my daughter and grandkids live only a mile away. 5) Drive slow and easy. I keep to 40 mph on major city thoroughfares (where the speed limit is 45) and under 60 mph on the highway. And I go easy on brake and gas pedal. 6) On long drives, I stay behind big truck hoping to benefit from the draft (but not too close).

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lani c

Mostly by combining trips. I try to plan ahead or if I do need something I'll try to wait until I can fit it in with another planned trip.

Guest's picture
sheeba m

well buying my honda i knew its efficiency and since I do clock in about 400 miles a week, I make it a point to buy my gas on a wednesday(which i think is the cheapest day) and always with cash. If i ever use my card its the one with points back...

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Thomas Murphy

I use fuel rewards programs to save.

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Neil

I always look for ways to save on gas with my Jeep. For starters I always keep my tires inflated to the correct psi and stick to the speed limits, not gunning to take off or to make it up the hills. I keep my Jeep empty of anything I do not need in it. Air filters and oil changed when recommended also helps a bit. When I have to drive I combine all my stops with one trip, no going out then coming home then going out later or even the next day. This part takes a little planning, so I may not do this as often.

Guest's picture
Heather

I use the Gas Buddy App or cash in store rewards for 10 cents off (Kroger).

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monique

I try to group all of my errands into one car trip and also drive pretty slowly compared to others.

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Guest

I bought a fuel efficient compact car. I know which gas station usually has the lowest prices and so I don't make an extra trip to go there, then I combine errands with going to & from work whenever possible to cut down on extra driving. Generally stay closer to home when it's a matter of choice.

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DeeDee

Use cruise control, obey speed limits and combine trips

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Kristine R.

It's pretty easy to save on gas with all the rewards programs there are now. If you buy gift cards from grocery stores you're going to eventually use anyway, the rewards on gas can really add up.

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melinda willfond

We are going down to 1 vehicle.

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valletta

Live in a walkable village and close to work!
Also, use Safeway gas which can be up to $1.00 PER GALLON cheaper (with Safeway groceries points)

Guest's picture
BRB

I don't drive like a crazy person and when I get around 1/2 a tank I start keeping an eye out for "cheap" gas prices and fill up if I am driving by.

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RebeccaM

Use the grocery gas points from Safeway or QFC (aka Kroger) when possible

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Tabathia B

I try to combine my errands to save on gas and use lowes gas rewards and get the cheapest gas

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Karin

I made the decision about two years ago to sell my car and I haven't looked back. I am lucky enough to live in a very walkable city (15 minute walk to work) with reliable enough public transportation to get to anything I need to get to within reason and is pretty biker friendly. I think walking everywhere has definitely helped both in my finances and my health so it has two benefits! I've debated something like a zipcar service but don't really think I would use it enough to make it worthwhile. I do find there are some consequences like increased grocery prices since I'm more reliant on the grocery stores in my area rather than some of the cheaper chains on the outskirts of the city but it's nothing in comparison to what gas (and parking, insurance, maintenance) would be.

I have an app on my phone that gives me all the schedules for the public transportation in my city.

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Rebecca B. A. R.

I try to plan my routes and errands so that I can save on gas and time.

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Guest

I save gas by not commuting any distance to a job. Most of my trips are short, and I ride the bus as often as I can. I also drive a fuel-efficient car.

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Carolyn

I let my sister do all the driving! We always take her car so therefor mine is setting in the drive! But I do offer her money and when I do drive I try to get everything in one trip!

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Rachel Stevick

I save on gas in several ways. I drive a hybrid Prius. I gas up in the early morning when the temperature is cooler. I speed up when I'm going down a hill and cruise up hills. I make sure my tires are fully inflated and my air filter is clean. I have an app that tells me which local gas station has the cheapest gas. I chose to live within close proximity of work, the grocery store, and major highways. I do a lot of online shopping at Amazon (with free shipping) so that I do not have to drive to individual stores.
I save on gas, but I tend to save money on everything in my life. Living frugally is a lifestyle.
:)

Guest's picture
Guest

I buy a fifty dollar unlimited transport pass for the month and use only that to get to work, outings with friends or even errands. When we go out of the city we use a ride share website like www.covoiturage.fr to get a ride to our destination or to share the gas cost with some passengers. This can also be a great way to make new friends! We end up using our car about once or twice a month and with the money we save we can fund road trips about every three or four months.

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Abby

I carpool with my husband to save money on gas. And we drive our smaller car on road trips instead of the Jeep.

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Carmen

I don't speed and don't do jack-rabbit starts

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Jeremy

A few things,

1. Proper tire pressure
2. Proper maintenence and oil type - too thick of oil makes the motor work harder to rotate!
3. A/C on the highway (reduces drag with the windows shut)
4. Cruise control as much as possible
5. Weight reduction - don't keep "stuff" in the trunk and car that weigh it down.

6. This one's a little harder - drive 5mph under the speed limit on the highway. Frustrating, but you get a good deal better mpg!
7. Brake sooner and accelerate softer!

Guest's picture
Deb K

We save on gas by carpooling and using Gas Buddy on my smartphone. We also save by earning rewards at Fred Meyer for cents off per gallon. I try to keep my tire pressure correct to help as well. I also consolidate shopping trips instead of leaving the house for each little errand.