DENVER (KDVR) – Gas prices continue to creep higher and higher.
If gas prices are breaking the bank or even just stretching your budget super-thin, the Problem Solvers break down 10 ways you can save money at the pump.
1. Know what type of gas you should use.
AAA advises drivers to pay attention to what type of gas they’re using.
AAA’s Skyler McKinley said that a lot of people are overpaying for premium gas when they don’t need it. AAA advises you to check your owner’s manual and read the fine print. If premium fuel is simply the “recommended” option, McKinley said you’re wasting your money.
“You’re not really getting any appreciable benefit from it. your mileage doesn’t really increase except in really limited circumstances like towing and then only the tune of about 1% better fuel efficiency, or the engine does not require premium fuel to run. So if your owner’s manual says premium fuel recommended, skip it, skip it, especially if you want to save money and really you can skip it and be in the habit of skipping it even when prices start to fall again, because there’s just no benefit. you’re getting scammed out of money on that,” McKinley said.
Additionally, McKinley said some owner’s manuals recommend 87 octane gas, but because Colorado is at altitude, cars that need 87 can run on 85.
2. Check the calendar before you fill-up
When you should fill up matters too, Gas Buddy advises you to pay attention to the day of the week that you fill up.
Gas Buddy said though daily gas prices vary from state to state, typically filling up on a Monday or Friday is the best way to save money.
3. Know which membership discounts or reward programs are best for you
A lot of gas stations have membership discounts or reward programs. On June 3, Sam’s and Costco gas stations were selling the cheapest gas in Denver.
However, is the membership worth it? Experts at “The Points Guy” said it depends.
If you have a big truck and or you drive a lot membership fees at Costco or Sam’s could be worth it.
“Forget going into the store, it might just pay for you to join to fill up gas. What’s interesting about Sam’s Club is you don’t actually have to be a member of theirs to use their gas. You can be a member of Walmart plus and if you’re a member of Walmart Plus you save about 10 cents a gallon at Sam’s Club. You can get a membership for free actually with the American Express platinum card. So, there are ways to think about what you have in your wallet that might actually save you more at the gas pump,” Executive Editorial Director at The Points Guy Scott Mayerowitz said.
He adds that using a fuel points program, like the one offered by King Soopers, could be beneficial if you have a big family and spend a lot on groceries. If you are just buying for one or two people, your monthly grocery budget might not wrack up that many points.
4. How far is too far to drive for a good price
Gas Buddy is known for telling you where the lowest gas prices are in your city.
We found a map on Gas Buddy with the highest prices in the metro area that shows some highly populated areas cost a few more cents than the suburbs.
We spoke to The Points Guy about where is best to fill and where to avoid.
“There’s no one given the cheapest place to buy gas. sometimes, you know, if you’re downtown, it might be a little bit more expensive than in the suburbs, or that first gas station right off the highway or a big intersection,” said Mayerowitz. “If you’re just saving two cents a gallon and you’re only filling up for 10 gallons, I mean, it’s 20 cents at the end of the day. Yeah, it all adds up but is it really worth you driving an extra mile or two out of your way? Your time is worth something to you keep that in mind.”
5. Get that junk out of your trunk
Seriously this matters too! Do you keep that ski wrack on your car all summer? Do you have a random box of stuff in your car? Reducing your load makes a big difference in the fuel efficiency of your car.
“It’s really simple stuff so many Coloradans. We’d love to use our cars as storage units, take all that extra stuff out if you’ve got golf clubs in there that are just sort of hanging out to take those out. Take basketballs out if you’ve still got a roof rack on your car, take that off, that creates additional drag,” Mckinley with AAA said.
6. Revisit your credit card benefits
The Points Guy said to pay attention to which card you’re using. Some credit cards give you cash back on fuel. A Bellco Reward Credit Card gives you 3 times the points at certain gas stations. Bank of America has a credit card that offers you up to 3% cashback in a certain category that you get to choose. If you’re driving a lot, choose gas stations.
7. Buy Gift cards
“You can actually go and buy gift cards to gas stations and save money that way. Depending on what credit card you have, you might earn a certain percentage back by buying gift cards at an office supply store or grocery store and you can then use that to fill up your car,” Mayerowitz said.
8. Drive Carefully
The way you drive can influence how much gas you use. AAA said don’t use jackrabbit starts or brake extremely quickly which also destroys fuel efficiency.
“The physics is clear. Generally, at around 50 to 55 miles per hour, your car is as aerodynamic as it can be north of that, especially if you’re speeding at 75 or 80 miles per hour. You’re losing a lot in fuel efficiency,” AAA’s Mckinley said.
9. Make sure your car is running at top performance
“Now is not a good time to ignore your car. If your car’s operating properly, you’re gonna get your best mileage. If your engine line has been on for a while, that typically signals something that’s also messing up your usage of fuel. Get that taken in, and go to your mechanic. Summer is the best time to love your mechanic and now it might actually save you some money,” Mckinley said.
10. Drive Less
Of course, this seems like the most obvious solution, but it can be difficult for some people.
AAA recommends you combine errands, use public transport, and bike to work if you can.