How to Save Money on Gas – Part 1 : Comparing Prices

Every time I go to fill up my car with gas, I almost find myself holding my breath until I see what the current price is. While it’s hard to find savings on gas prices, there are ways that you can save overall. I’ve compiled a mini-series on a few ways I’ve found to save on gas prices. Here’s the first one:

I recently discovered an App called “Gas Buddy” that compiles gas prices so that you can gauge the best price in your area. For those of you living in smaller towns with just one or two gas stations, it may not be incredibly useful but those of you like us who are in a busier suburb with gas stations galore, you might find this App to be a new useful tool. Don’t worry if you don’t have an iPhone, Blackberry or Droid as they also have a website that you can check online. While that may not help you when you are out-and-about, it can be a great resource if you get yourself into the habit of checking prices before you leave your house. (For those of you using the App, never use them when driving–check them when you are safely stopped!)

When I first started using the tool, I wasn’t sure how much it would save me, but I’ve since been surprised by what I’ve found. Had I not used the tool, we would have stopped at the nearest local gas station and paid this price, which was the average in the area at that time: ($3.98)

But while my husband was driving, I did a search on the best prices in our area and found a gas station that was this price ($3.79!)

We only needed 13 gallons of gas at the time but that figured out to $2.47 savings since it was basically on the way to where we were going. Not only is the App helping me find cheaper prices, but it’s also making me aware that I should always keep my eyes open for a lower price. It’s a great habit to get into and it just saved me $.22 a gallon this last week as I happened to see a station that was marked down to $4.07, instead of $4.29. This saved me around $2.20 as my tank wasn’t as empty. (The next day, this station was back up to the average price so I was lucky to catch that deal!)

It may only seem like small savings but here’s just a look at what it could add up to:

1 vehicle saving $.10 a gallon on 15 gallons a week is $1.50 x 52 weeks in a year = $78.00 a year in savings. Even if you only saved $.05 a gallon, that’s $39.00 a year–just for merely checking for the best price. If you have multiple vehicles, your savings will be far greater. The savings would change if you had a larger tank to fill-up and filled your tank multiple times per week, etc. It just changes by your overall usage of fuel.

How to Make this Work for You:

1) The idea isn’t to drive out of your way for savings or you are losing your savings. Check what’s in your area. You might find prices comparable within the same mileage of where you were heading but in a different shopping area–shop there instead. Or you might find a station on your normal route that you wouldn’t normally stop at.

2) If you don’t have a phone with App capabilities, get in the habit of checking online before you leave your house.

3) Keep in mind that prices aren’t guaranteed but are just what others are reporting them to be. They may be higher/lower so it’s a chance you take–or you could get in the habit of calling to verify before you change your route.

4) Use this tool when on vacation to help determine which exit you might want to stop at for fuel.

You might be able to find other gas price apps/tools. This is just one I have found and it is currently Free. (Be sure it states free as it can change at any time!)

I’m hoping that this might find you some extra savings in your budget. I have more ways to save on gas coming at you in the next few weeks so be sure to look for them.