Fuel prices fluctuate all the time. These sudden changes can make it hard to know if you’re going to get a good deal tomorrow or if you’ll be paying less than you did today. While you can fill up your car for pretty cheap right now, you should always be on the lookout for inexpensive ways to top off your tank. Here are five tips for finding the cheapest gas.
- Look out for loyalty programs.
There are loyalty programs out there that can save you major money. Kroger, Sam’s Club, Shell, and Mapco are just a few of the gas stations that provide you with savings based on how much you spend. Some of these programs allow you to save up to $1 per gallon. Such a discount is especially useful if you have a huge fuel tank. Be on the lookout for loyalty programs or ask if your local gas station provides any perks.
- Check prices online or on-the-go.
If you live near several gas stations or if you’re out and about, you should check the price of gas in your area before purchasing. You could save 10 cents per gallon if you just drive an extra two minutes. To find the cheapest prices, you can visit websites such as GasBuddy.com or FuelMeUp.com. If you are mobile, GasBuddy.com also has an app you can download to your phone or tablet. It’s user-reported, so you’re guaranteed accurate and up-to-date information.
- Fill up early in the morning or late at night.
Studies have shown that gas is cheaper early in the morning or late at night. During the day, the prices will fluctuate like crazy, going up or down several cents at a time. When I say early in the morning, I mean before dawn, and late at night means after 10 p.m. The fluctuation almost always means the price is going to go up due to more people being on the road and needing gas. Because of this price trend, one of the worst times to buy gas is during rush hour.
- Never stop at highway stations.
If you’re taking a trip or if you’re a commuter, you might need to stop and get gas along the way. One of the worst things you can do for your wallet is to buy gas at a highway station. These stations commit highway robbery—get it? They are likely to be 10–20 cents higher than others that are located closer to cities or in towns. They’re convenient, but is it worth it to your wallet? Try to use gas stations that are a few miles away from interstates and highways.
- Pay in cash.
If using a loyalty rewards program is out of the question, you can save money just by paying cash. Debit and credit cards reign supreme, but stations will reward you for paying cash. Many gas stations provide a discount if you pay using cold, hard, paper currency. The discount can be 10 cents or more. If the price isn’t displayed, ask if the gas station has a cash discount.