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Many drivers have bad habits that cost them at the pump.  Whether it’s sticking to the same gas station out of convenience, waiting until their gas tank is almost empty or not signing up for loyalty programs.  According to GasBuddy, these mistakes can cost you up to $375 per year.  Fortunately, there are strategies you can use to spend less money on gas.

Fill up on a Monday or Tuesday

When you’re trying to maximize your savings timing is everything.  A GasBuddy study revealed that you’ll find the best prices and shortest wait times on Mondays and Tuesdays.  Schedule your trip between 7-10am to avoid the crowds.  Whatever you do, avoid filling up on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays when gas prices are the highest.

Pay with cash

Many gas stations charge different prices depending on your payment method.  Usually you can save 10 to 15 cents per gallon by simply paying in cash.

Take advantage of gas station loyalty programs

Eighty percent of drivers have a “go to” gas station.  If you’re not a part of their loyalty program, then you’re missing out on savings.  Sign up now so you can start earning points in-store and at the pump.  You can redeem your rewards for fuel discounts, free food and beverages and other prizes.  Here’s what some popular stations offer.

  • Circle K – Receive 10 points per gallon plus 20 points per dollar spent on snacks, food and non-alcoholic beverages.  Members save $2 for every 2,000 points they earn.
  • Exxon Mobil – Earn 3 cents per gallon in points when you buy fuel. 2 cents in points for every $1 spent on drinks.
  • Maverik – With an Adventure Club account you can save 2 cents per gallon and 6 cents per gallon with a Nitro account.
  • Sheetz – Get 3 cents off gas.  Earn 5 points for every $1 spent in-store.
  • Shell – With Gold Status you can save 5 cents per gallon every time you fill up.
  • Speedy – Earn 10 points per gallon of gas and 20 points per $1 spent on merchandise.

Sign up for a gas credit card

Whether you’re a professional driver or just have a long commute to work getting a gas station credit card can be beneficial to you.  Cardholders will be rewarded with cash or points when they swipe their card at gas stations.  Try to stay away from cards that are affiliated with a particular station because you’ll only be rewarded if you stick to them.  Instead, find a card that fits your lifestyle and can be used everywhere.  Keep in mind that gas cards tend to charge higher interest rates when your bill isn’t paid in full.

Shop at grocery stores that offer fuel reward programs

Shopping at your local grocery store can lead to big savings at the gas pump.  All you have to do is swipe your loyalty card.  Safeway, Acme and Star Market shoppers can earn 10 cents off per gallon at Sunoco when they spend $100.  Many national chains also offer similar programs so do your research.

Stop buying premium

Most cars run perfectly fine with regular gas, but some drivers still like to splurge on premium.  Doing so can cost 50 cents or more per gallon.  In most cases it won’t help your car perform better, move faster or anything else you’ve heard.  Stick to regular gas unless your owner’s manual specifically requires a higher octane.

Don’t wait until your gas light comes on

Some people wait until they have less than a quarter tank to fill up.  By then, your choices are limited, and you’ll stop anywhere to avoid being stranded on the side of the road.  That’s a costly move especially considering that gas prices tend to be higher near highways.  When you get to about half tank, start comparison shopping.  Your best bet is to use a gas app like GasBuddy, Gas Guru or Waze to find the nearest stations and cheapest prices.