Published February 25, 2011
Gas prices are on the rise again. Gas prices can vary widely not just from one region to another, but even at stations within the same geographic area. Here are some tips for finding cheap gas near you.
Monitor gas prices. Pay attention to gas prices as you drive around your town and in any other towns you frequent, and take note of the stations where you can find cheap gas on a regular basis. Head to one of those stations when you need to fill up.
Choose an unbranded gas station. Gas stations that are not affiliated with a specific oil company or gasoline brand often have cheap gas prices per gallon because they purchase excess gas from multiple oil companies.
Check prices online or on your smart phone. Websites such as Automotive.com, FuelMeUp.com, GasBuddy.com and GasPriceWatch.com list gas prices reported by drivers who have recently purchased cheap gas.
For drivers with smartphones, several websites and applications are available to find gas prices as well as a map of the stations. Check out MSN Autos' interactive gas center, the gas price feature from MapQuest, Bing Maps gas prices app, the app from GasBuddy.com and the Where app.
Pay cash. Some gas stations offer different prices for cash and credit, while other gas stations take only cash. Often the cash price is cheaper than the stations that charge the same price for cash and credit card customers. Take note if this is the case in your area, and you have cash in your wallet reserved for filling up your tank.
Look for loyalty programs. While some membership-based stores, such as Costco, offer cheap gas at stations in their parking lots, some chain gas stations are forming other partnerships to offer gasoline discounts. Some credit card companies and grocery store chains offer these types of loyalty programs.
However, keep in mind that driving out of your way for cheap gas may not be worth it financially. To see if you are really saving, use Bankrate's gas price calculator. Also, be sure you use the gas-saving strategies in this Bankrate story.