The rising price of gas has been a frequent topic over the last 6 months. Gas prices affect most everyone. Fortunately, there are steps to take to make it a bit easier on our wallets when we gas up.
Up Like a Rocket, Down Like a Feather
When gas prices go up, they tend to shoot up dramatically. Between August 2021 and the beginning of June 2022, average gas prices in Ohio rose by about $2.50 per gallon. Of course, when prices start to fall again, they never seem to do so at the same rate as when they went up. However, between June and August 2022, prices dropped by almost $1.50. That was actually a faster drop than in past years. But no matter whether prices are headed up or down, we all want to be able to make the most of our money, including at the gas pump.
There are multiple ways to get the best deals on gas. The most obvious is to find the lowest advertised price. There are dedicated apps for this, such as GasBuddy, but Waze and Google Maps also let you check out gas prices. Of course, going to a gas station that will save you a few cents per gallon isn’t necessarily worthwhile if you have to drive a longer distance to get there.
Once you get to your station, keep the plastic in your wallet and pay cash. In order to avoid credit card processing fees, most stations offer a discount for cash. Of course, cash is often less convenient, so if you do end up using a card, try to go for one that offers a cash back reward for gas station purchases. Some grocery stores, such as Kroger and Costco, offer discounts for members at their gas stations.
Best Driving Practices
Once you’ve found a great deal on gas, you can save even more by following some best practices when driving. For example, if you see that a light ahead of you has just turned red, coast to your stop instead of hitting the gas and braking at the last minute. You can also improve your fuel economy by idling less at stop lights. Many newer car models will automatically power down if you’re idling for more than a set amount of time, and power back up when you take your foot off the brake.
Also, when you’re looking for a parking space, don’t keep driving around to find the spot closest to the door. Take the first open spot, even if it’s a bit further away from the door. If you have multiple errands to run, do them all in one trip. Your engine runs more efficiently once it’s warmed up, and you generally put fewer miles on the car in total.
Keeping your car in good order also helps with fuel economy. Remove excess weight, and keep proper air pressure in your tires. Using the proper weight of oil and type of gas also helps the engine run better and more efficiently, improving fuel economy.
Gassing up our vehicles is one of those expenses that’s hard to escape entirely. But with a few smart strategies, we can take steps to make it less painful to our wallets.