Published March 07, 2011
Whether you drive an SUV or a compact car, filling up your tank these days is hurting your wallet.
Jason Toews, co-founder of GasBuddy.com, said drivers who consider their options and know where to look often save more at the pump, even when prices are rising daily.
“In any major city, gas prices will vary as much as 50 to 80 cents per gallon,” Toews said. “You can save as much as 20 cents on the gallon just by knowing where to look. Paying 20 more cents here and there, it definitely does add up.”
Here are Toews’ tips for cutting back on cost when buying gas.
No. 1: Fill up on off-days. The day of the week you choose to fill up on will undoubtedly impact the price you pay, Toews said. Although it is hard to pinpoint an exact day on which prices are lower, due to regional impacts on pricing, generally filling up on Wednesdays or Thursdays helps reduce pricing.
“Prices are usually raised right before the weekend,” he said. “People typically fill up on the weekend to get away, especially for the summer.”
No. 2: Drive into town. Those who fill up their tanks right off highways or freeways will pay more than those who venture off the more populated roads, Toews said.
“If you drive a bit, you can save as much as 10 or 20 cents per gallon,” he said.
No. 3: Don’t fill up in affluent areas. Typically affluent areas tend to have higher gas prices, because they are less concerned with price and more focused on convenience, Toews said.
“They may care more about filling up next to a good coffee place, or a nice car wash, or not making a left hand turn against traffic to fill up,” he said.
No. 4: Try a wholesale club. Stores like BJ’s and Costco aren’t just good for buying your favorite products in bulk. They are now luring customers in with cheaper rates on gasoline, Toews said.
“They are selling gas cheaply to get people to come inside and buy other items like clothes or food,” he said.
No. 5: Ditch the credit card. Although using plastic when buying gas may be more convenient, using cash may cost you less.
“Many gas stations offer good discounts for using cash,” Toews said.