For most of us, it’s something we do almost without thinking about it – just another routine task in our schedule. But for something so routine, there is an awful lot of misconception about it, as well as some legitimately helpful tips. What are we talking about? That weekly trip to the gas station, of course. And when it comes to those helpful tips, we’ve distilled six of them out of the chaos.
It matters where you fill up. Not all retailers’ gasoline is created equal. The ones you want to look for are those who sell what is known as Top-Tier gasoline. This means that the gas sold at these retailers is held to certain quality standards and has detergent additives in it that promote efficiency and lower emissions over time. An internet search will help you find out which gas stations in your area sell Top-Tier fuels.
Discount programs. Some retailers have loyalty programs or discount gas cards that can save you a significant amount of money on gas, sometimes up to 10 percent. It is at least worth a look to see if any retailers in your area have such a program. Even a very small percentage off of something that you consume constantly will add up fast.
Buy earlier in the week. It may vary in your area, but gasoline prices tend to rise during the week, with the highest prices present between Wednesday and Saturday. Filling up earlier in the week could translate to a long-term savings.
Fill up where there is competition. Maybe you’ve noticed the same thing we have; on a road trip, gas stations that are out in the middle of nowhere, all by their lonesome, charge more for their gas than ones in a city. One of the reasons they do this is simply because they can, since there is no nearby competition. To limit your wallet’s exposure to these higher prices, fill up before leaving town, and try to schedule fuel stops in populated areas, if possible.
Think twice in affluent areas, and right by freeways. These are two types of locations where you will typically see higher prices. The reasons for this are fairly self-explanatory, and are based in simple economics, like in the previous paragraph. The key here is to exercise awareness of how location can influence the prices you’ll see.
Use the right octane rating for your car. Your owner’s manual specifies a minimum octane rating for the gas you put in your car. For most, this will be in the mid-80s or so. Without getting into the technical aspects of octane ratings, it’s enough to say that buying gas with a higher-than-necessary rating will not result in any added benefit for you or your car. Marketing tactics might suggest that the expensive stuff is higher in quality or energy content, but the truth is that higher-octane fuels are for high-compression engines like those in some sports cars. Consult your owner’s manual to be sure, but there’s a good chance that if you’re buying mid-grade or “premium” for your non-turbo commuter car, you can switch to Regular and pocket the difference in price.
As with most things, a little more attention and some change in habits can yield very real savings.Work out a “gas up” plan that involves all these points so you can reap the most benefit.