Today, gas prices are soaring. As of late March 2022, the average cost of a gallon of gas was well above $4 per gallon, and some cities were seeing prices above the $6 per gallon mark. Since the cost rose so quickly, many couples are struggling to adjust their budgets. Fortunately, couples can help each other save money on gas, here’s how.
Combine Your Rewards
There are several different kinds of gas rewards programs out there. Some are offered by the gas stations themselves, while others are associated with grocery stores or credit cards. By exploring all of the programs that are available, you and your partner can potentially maximize the savings by tapping into multiple rewards options at once. Or, if you are using a cash back gas app, you can refer each other to make the app more efficient.
There are three major cash back apps that are useful for reducing your fuel costs.
Upside (formerly GetUpside)
Of these, Upside is best. How Upside works is you buy gas, then either let the app read your credit card transactions or you scan your receipt into the app. Then, in three days it credits you cash back. What makes Upside better than the alternatives is that you get compensated in cash – not an in kind equivalent. And, you don’t need to wait to hit a set minimum, Upside lets you cash out with as little a dollar. Their download link is here if you’d like to try it.
Another approach is double pumping. If you have multiple vehicles, you may even be able to fill both cars up in one transaction. Typically, this should only be considered at stations where the pump can easily reach both cars without having to drive the first one out of the way, as having to move the vehicles in the middle of the transaction could be dangerous. However, it’s important to note that double pumping – as it’s called – while not illegal, may not be permitted at certain stations, so keep that in mind.
Track Gas Prices in Your Area
If you and your partner work or spend time in different parts of town, make it a habit to track gas prices as you drive. The goal is to spot convenient, lower-cost stations, preferably ones that are consistently below average in your area.
Once you figure out which pumps are offering the most competitive pricing, make those stations part of your routine. If only one of you consistently goes past an affordable option (and you’re comfortable with the idea), you could flip the vehicles you drive during the week, allowing the partner that goes by the better station to fill up the other car on occasion. Just make sure one partner isn’t bearing the brunt of that cost if you have separate finances, as that would be unfair.
Get Cash Discounts
Depending on where you live, a gallon of gas might have two different price tags depending on whether you pay in cash or use a card. If that’s the case, the difference might be 5 or 10 cents per gallon. In some cases, it may even be more.
If you live in an area with price differences for cash, use that to pay for your fuel. Hit a fee-free ATM when you pass one or request cash back when using a debit card at a retailer that allows it during checkout. Then, keep the cash in your wallet until your next fill-up. That way, you’ll have some ready.
Carpooling can help you save money on gas in several ways. First, you’re not using one of your cars as often. As long as the total route isn’t longer than if you drove yourselves, you’re likely coming out ahead. That’s especially true if one of your vehicles is more fuel-efficient, allowing you to take advantage of the better mileage.
Second, it may qualify you for carpool lanes when driving. If this lets you avoid stop-and-go traffic, you may get improved fuel economy, resulting in a savings. Plus, if you use toll roads, you’ll save there too, which is a nice bonus.
Remove Excess Weight from Vehicles
If you’re used to driving around with items in your cars that you don’t need daily, take them out. Extra pounds decrease fuel efficiency, so you’ll end up spending more to keep your vehicle gassed up.
While you don’t want to remove necessary items (like spare tires, jacks, or similar safety-oriented equipment), sporting equipment, recreational gear, and similar items should go. It’s also a good idea to take off any detachable racks you aren’t actively using. Not only are those extra weight, they also harm aerodynamics, leading to poorer fuel economy.
Stay on Top of Maintenance
The condition of your vehicle plays a role in gas usage. Skipping oil changes, ignoring engine warning lights, and similar choices may mean you’re not addressing problems that could reduce your fuel economy dramatically.
Proper tire inflation is another little thing that has a major impact. Being just one PSI under can reduce fuel economy by 0.2 percent. While that may seem small, it adds up over the long run.
If you want to make sure your tires are at the right place, consider getting a tire inflator with a built-in meter. That way, you can check your tires at home and fix them if they’re under in mere minutes.
For the rest of your maintenance, check your owner’s manual to review the schedule. Then, take any warning lights seriously, heading to a reputable repair shop to get the issue assessed and addressed.
Do you have any other tips that can help couples save money on gas? Have you tried the tips above and want to tell others about your experience? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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