Anyone with a driver’s license is probably well aware that gas prices have skyrocketed over the past decade. Due to depleting sources, OPEC restrictions, wars, political instability, and general economic conditions, the cost of a gallon of gas has jumped from around $1.50 in 2002 to about $3.50 today. That’s a substantial increase in the transportation burden placed upon the average consumer.
This burden has only further been heightened by rising maintenance and insurance rates, all of which together make car ownership an expensive proposition for many in a stagnant economy. If money is tight and you’re looking to cut costs, you probably don’t enjoy making those trips to the pump.
Fortunately, there are ways that you can go about saving money on gas costs this year. Without completely eschewing a car you can’t avoid gas expenses altogether, but there are certainly ways to reduce the burden as much as possible, you can also get car quotes online to help save money on your car insurance.
Here are some tips:
-Plan trips beforehand. Many people have the habit of using their car whenever they desire without giving it any prior thought. They go to work, return home, go out to the grocery store, and then return home again. You could save money on gas and on time by instead planning out your errands and deciding, as much as possible, to use the car only a couple times per day.
-Walk or take transit when possible. While it’s unfeasible for most people to walk, bike, or take public transit on a regular basis, this does not mean that they can never partake of these options and that they should use their car for every transportation need. If you are going somewhere close by, or if your destination is near transit, or if it’s warm outside and you have the time, you may want to make it a habit of using a transit mode besides your car.
-Use gas comparison sites. Websites such as GasBuddy.com can be incredibly helpful in spotting local gas stations that have the lowest gas prices. It’s probably not worth driving 10 miles out of your way to save a couple dollars of gas, but if you have multiple stations in your home or work vicinity it can’t hurt checking beforehand and seeing which ones offer the best price.
-Get a rewards credit card. Some gas station chains provide credit card rewards programs where customers can get automatic discounts when they use the card to buy gas. The only catch is that you need to fill up from that company’s station (ie BP, Shell, etc) if you want the discount. You can still keep your debit card, your normal bank, and your savings account rates, but you’ll want to make sure that your gas card is in your wallet whenever you roll up to a station.
-Assess political trends. While gas prices have been rising over time, on a daily and weekly basis they have become far more volatile in general. This means that prices may plummet one week and then rise quickly the next. Usually macro factors – such as politics or the global economy – are to account for this activity. On that note, if political tensions alleviate in a gas-producing country and prices quickly drop, make sure to top off your tank before they inevitably rise again only a few days later.
These are a few of the best ways to try to save money on gas this year. While many of us would likely be glad to do away with our cars and never visit a gas station ever again, these options provide more practical means of keeping your car while reducing some costs at the same time.
With gas prices predicted to rise, how are you planning to save money on gas this year?