12 Ways to Fill Up for Less at the Gas Station

How to Get Cheaper Gas as the Price of Oil Rises

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12 Ways to Fill Up for Less at the Gas Station

Tank Goodness

Most drivers have heard they can get a little more mileage out of their gas tank by accelerating more slowly or laying off the air conditioning, which are especially smart moves as gas prices hover around $5 a gallon. Ouch, indeed.

In a nod to rising gas prices, the convenience store chain Sheetz has just announced that it's dropping its prices on unleaded 88 and E85 gas to $3.99 and $3.49, respectively, for the Fourth of July travel season. Light-duty trucks and vehicles from 2001 or later can fill up with unleaded 88, while E85 is only for special flex-fuel autos. Sheetz owns more than 640 stores throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, and North Carolina. If you can’t make it to a Sheetz station, here are a dozen ways to pay less for gas when you need to hit the road.

Inflation Continues to Bust Consumers' Budgets

Kroger Gas

Join a Grocery Store Perks Program

Some grocery chains operate their own gas stations, enticing customers with reward programs that accumulate points toward fuel discounts. Kroger, for instance, allows members of its free loyalty program to earn one point for each dollar spent, double points on gift card purchases, and bonuses for using the Kroger pharmacy or the new Boost grocery delivery membership. Redeem points in blocks off 100 or more for savings of 10 cents to $1 per gallon on a single fill-up. Safeway has a similar program for members of its Just for U shopper's club. The only drawback: Unused points expire at the end of the month.

Related: Secrets for Shopping at Kroger

Fill Up on the Right Day of the Week

Choose the Right Day to Fuel Up

You aren't crazy: Gas at the station on the corner actually was a lot cheaper the other day. Prices fluctuate throughout the week. A recent Gas Buddy study has found that the best day to fill up is Monday, followed by Friday. Prices are highest mid-week. 

Related: The Cost of Gas the Year You Were Born

Avoid Rush Hour

Avoid Rush Hour

Some people say filling up early in the morning, when it's cool, saves money because gas expands when it's heated. But Consumer Reports concluded that any savings would be minimal at best. Stations may be more likely to raise prices in rush-hour traffic, though.

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Compare Prices with an App

Your phone can make comparison shopping easy. GasBuddy is among the most popular apps for finding the lowest gas prices wherever you may be. The Balance also recommends Gas Guru and traffic-spotter app Waze, which can flag cheap gas.

Use the Right Credit Card

Use the Right Credit Card

There are an overwhelming number of reward credit cards available that offer anywhere from 2% to 5% off the per-gallon price of gasoline or accumulate points redeemable toward air travel, hotels, or cash back. But choose carefully and look for sign-on perks such as bonus points or a low interest rate.

Opt for Cash

Opt for Cash

Some gas stations offer a discount to customers who pay with cash. Why? They avoid the swipe fees charged by major credit-card companies and fatten their bottom line.

Research Restaurants Beforehand …

Take a Few Surveys

Some websites let you take surveys, watch videos, or shop with retail partners in exchange for points that can be used to earn gift cards. One of the most popular survey sites, Swagbucks, includes Exxon, Chevron, and Sunoco gift cards as rewards options.

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Skip the Premium Fuel

You may think you're babying your car by buying the "good stuff," but premium gas offers little benefit for modern engines, according to Edmunds. Stick to premium if you drive a luxury car that requires it; otherwise, enjoy the savings of buying regular unleaded.

Avoid Stations in Certain Areas

Avoid Stations in Certain Areas

If you aren't using an app to check prices, experts offer this rule of thumb: Bypass stations immediately off the highway, which charge for convenience, and think twice about filling up in affluent areas where customers aren't as price-sensitive.


Stay Vigilant

The biggest money saver may be simply remembering to hunt for deals. According to GasBuddy, when gas prices are low, there's actually more of a spread — not less — between the highest and lowest prices at the pump. Because of that, drivers who assume prices are low everywhere run a greater risk of overspending.

Related: Will This 10-Step Plan Bring Down Gas Prices? 

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