With the current financial status of America, the rising costs at the pump can severely impact a household’s budget. There are some ways to lessen the pain at the pump and leave more in your pocket.
With just a little research and some careful planning, the anxiety that comes as you watch the numbers rapidly increase when you are filling up can be lessened with a few saving tips.
Pay with cash instead of a card
Next time you’re checking the big gas station billboards for prices, look closely. The lowest price you see is likely a cash-only price. In some cases, you might not even see any mention of a cash-only price at all, as the discount is implied. You may only find out after swiping your card and noticing you paid several cents higher than the price on the sign.
Use a gas rewards card
Cashback on gas is one of the best credit card reward programs for daily drivers, especially in Biden’s economy.
For example, with the Chase Freedom Flex cardChase Freedom Flex card, you can earn 5% cash back at the gas pump (for your first year or up to $6,000 spent, whichever is first). Similarly, the American Express’s Blue Cash Preferred card offers unlimited 3% cash back on gas purchases. Many other programs fall within that 3% to 5% cash back range, sometimes on a revolving basis.
Just be sure you know what you’re getting into before opening a rewards credit card. Pay the fuel charges off in full each month so you’re not paying interest on your gas purchases.
When used responsibly, this strategy could save you a few dollars per tank, so it’s worth considering — especially if you don’t always have cash on hand.
Join a grocery store rewards program
Check to see if your local grocery store has a gas rewards program.
Several major grocery chains partner with gas stations to offer members a nice discount at the pump, frequently 10 cents or more off per gallon. For example, Kroger, Safeway, Stop & Shop, and many other grocers offer gas discounts if you spend a certain amount of money at their store after signing up for the rewards program.
We use United for our grocery shopping because for every $100 we spend in the store, we receive 10 cents off a gallon.
Other grocery stores offer similar programs. For every $50 to $100 spent at the grocery store, you might earn a fuel discount of 5 cents to 10 cents at a partner gas station.
If you’re already spending that much at a grocer that offers a rewards program, this strategy could be a no-brainer.
National chains like 7-11 and Valero offer their own apps that also come with rewards for using the apps.
7-11 offers the 7Rewards program that combines points for money spent in the store and random discounts for fuel on certain days.
The ValeroPay+ app provides a way to pay for your fuel directly from the app, even adding your own credit card to the app. It comes with a 10-cent off a gallon discount and offers many opportunities to receive even higher discounts on certain days.
Some local stations also have additional discounts that they may not advertise. Next time you stop at our favorite gas station, ask if they have a reward or a discount program. You might be surprised at the answer.
Apps like Upside, GasBuddy, and Waze are popular options for finding the cheapest gas in our area. A little bit of research and preparation for purchasing fuel can provide you with the cheapest gas in town combined with some decent savings through additional discounts.
GasBuddy also offers its own fuel savings program called Pay with GasBuddy, which is similar to the ValeroPay+ app. A free membership allows you to save up to 25 cents per gallon when you fill up at most national gas station chains. You can also sign up for a paid version. Pay with GasBuddy Premium is $9.99 a month and offers up to 40 cents off per gallon plus 24-hour roadside assistance.
However, the pay with GasBuddy app is not compatible with every gas station. For example, Exxon Mobil, BJs, Costco, Sam’s Club, H-E-B, select Walmart stations, and some small, local gas stations don’t accept the Pay with GasBuddy card.