When searching for cheap gas near me, I began thinking about all the ways there are to save money on gas. From apps to rewards programs to credit cards, there are a number of ways to reduce the cost of fuel. Some are easier to use than others, but they'll all save you in the long run.Saving money on gas means finding the cheapest gas near you, taking advantage of discounts, and using a rewards credit card to earn travel rewards or cash back.
Whether you’re saving money driving around town or on a long-distance road trip, following these tips and using these apps will leave your wallet a little bit fatter.
Table Of Contents
- How Do I Find The Cheapest Gas Near Me?
- How Do I Calculate The Cost Of Gas For A Trip?
- Where Is The Cheapest Gasoline In The World?
- Best Apps To Find Cheap Gas
- Best Apps To Save Money On Gas
- Best Credit Cards For Gas Purchases
- Alternative Ways To Save Money On Gas
- The Ultimate Strategy
How Do I Find The Cheapest Gas Near Me?
Ideally, you'll find the cheapest gas at a station near you, or at least along your driving route. Unfortunately, the reality is that the cheapest gas can be out of the way. Or the savings from the lower prices are offset by the time and distance you must drive to get there.
How Do I Calculate The Cost Of Gas For A Trip?
When creating a road trip budget, most people focus on the cost of hotels, food, and attractions. They forget about the cost of gasoline, which, depending on how far you're driving and the type of car you have, can be significant.
To estimate how much you'll spend in gas, follow these easy steps:
- Use a map website or mobile app to determine the distance between your start and end points.
- Figure out the miles per gallon that your vehicle can drive. To do that, find the number of miles driven since your last fill-up and divide by the number of gallons you filled up with. For example, if you drove 320 miles and purchased 16 gallons of gas, your miles per gallon (MPG) would be 20.
- Pro tip: Visit the FuelEconomy.gov website to find your vehicle. I would take the midpoint between highway and city driving for a more realistic result.
- Divide the number of miles you plan to drive by the MPG of your vehicle. This will give you the estimated number of gallons of gas you will need on your trip.
- Find the average price of a gallon of gas. AAA has a gas price index broken down by state.
- Multiply the number of miles you expect to drive by the average price of a gallon of gas in the states you plan to drive through.
For example, if you expect to get 20 miles per hour and you will be driving 1,000 miles, then you will need approximately 50 gallons (1,000 / 20 = 50). At an average price of say, $2.99, then your cost of gas would be about $150 (50 X 2.99 = 149.50).
Alternatively, AAA offers a gas cost calculator which will estimate the cost of gas for you. Simply pick your starting and ending destination and select the year, make, and model of your car, then let AAA calculate the cost for you.
I tried their tool with a sample trip from Nashville, Tennessee to Washington, D.C. The expected cost would be $82 each way based on today's average fuel prices. We can lower those costs with some of the tips below.
Where Is The Cheapest Gasoline In The World?
When looking for the cheapest gas, you might not find it right around the corner. In fact, you'll have to leave the United States to find the cheapest gasoline in the world.
According to Bloomberg, these are the top 10 countries with the cheapest gasoline as of the 2nd quarter of 2019 (prices per gallon):
- Venezuela – $0.01
- Iran – $0.42
- Kuwait – $1.31
- Nigeria – $1.52
- Egypt – $1.76
- Malaysia – $1.90
- Saudi Arabia – $2.12
- United Arab Emirates – $2.49
- Pakistan – $2.65
- Russia – $2.75
At first glance, you'll notice that the U.S. is not in the top 10. In fact, the U.S. is just outside the top 10 at number 13 with an average price per gallon of gas of $2.99. However, it is moving up the ranks. Now that it's a net exporter of oil, gasoline prices have continued to fall.
Best Apps To Find Cheap Gas Near Me
Not so long ago, you needed to pay attention to prices and remember which gas station offered the lowest one. Today, you can focus your brain elsewhere because “there's an app for that.” These are the best apps that I use to find cheap gas near me.
One of the original gas price tracking apps is GasBuddy. They've long been one of my favorites to help me find cheap gas near me. You can search gas prices on their website or smartphone app using GPS or specific ZIP codes.
GasBuddy not only helps you find cheap gas, but it has also taken things a step further with its Pay with GasBuddy program. Free members save at least 5 cents on every gallon of gas they buy. Premium members can save up to 20 cents per gallon for a monthly fee starting at $4.99.
Additionally, you can earn discounts on future fill-ups when you shop through their app or portal with the Gas Back feature.
I earn more than 5 cents per gallon (about 2% based on the average price of a gallon of gas) in cash back or rewards with my credit cards, so I never signed up for this program. Instead, I focus on the app's core feature of finding cheap gas. But if you don't have a good rewards program with your credit card, this is a good option.
GasGuru's app is loaded with features that help you find cheap gas. Not only can you select the gas station with the best prices, but this app also provides an easy-to-use map so that you can find the gas station quickly.
If you're in a hurry and willing to sacrifice a few pennies of savings, you can hit the “best nearby” feature that saves you time and money. You can filter your searches by gas, fuel grade, and amenities to find the gas station that's right for you.
And when you find a station that works best for you, save it as a favorite so that you can easily find it again.
If you took road trips before the advent of GPS devices, you might remember how the AAA TripTik was the go-to solution for driving directions. AAA has digitized the fabled TripTik and added a lot more functionality to their mobile apps. And the good news is that you can still use this app to plan your trips and find cheap gas whether you are a member of AAA or not.
Members unlock even more value from the mobile app to request roadside assistance, get instant battery replacement quotes, receive member discounts at over 164,000 locations, and so much more.
TruNow helps you save money on gas in two ways. First, you can find cheap gas near you, no matter where you are.
Second, this app will give you up to 1% cashback on every gas station purchase just by taking a picture of the receipt. Granted, the amount of money you'll earn is minimal each time, but the money does add up.
The app also offers discounts on snacks, drinks, and other goodies at participating gas stations so you can save even more money.
Not only does Waze provide excellent directions to avoid traffic and warn you about police, accidents, and road hazards, it also helps you find cheap gas. I like that Waze helps you find the lowest prices on gas along the route you're already driving. It takes the guesswork out of trying to figure out which gas station works best for your drive.
Best Apps To Save Money On Gas
Not only do we want to find the best prices on gas, but we also want to maximize other strategies to reduce the cost even further. These apps can help us plan more efficient routes, use discounts, and avoid paying for gas altogether.
Gas Station Apps
Gas stations are building loyalty with their customers by offering their own apps. These apps will help you save money on gas while making it easier to find one of their gas stations. Many of these apps will shave a few cents off your price per gallon for creating an account. These are a few examples of the gas station apps available:
- BPme (Apple, Google Play) Users can pay for their gas directly from the app without reaching for their wallet.
- ExxonMobil Speedpass+ (Apple, Google Play) Earn 15 cents per gallon on your first three fill-ups. Points from every purchase can be used for in-store purchases.
- Shell Fuel Rewards (Apple, Google Play) Minimum of 3 cents off per gallon. Can earn more savings with frequent fill-ups of 8 gallons or more.
- Speedway (Apple, Google Play) Provides monthly perks and digital coupons for app users. Redeem points for drinks, snacks, and more.
The Route4Me website and app are designed for frequent drivers. It doesn't tell you where the cheap gas is, but it helps you optimize your driving to minimize the amount of time and gas you'll use to complete your daily tasks. In fact, its website states that every route is up to 35% shorter on average!
The free version is adequate for most consumers because you can program up to 10 routes per month with an unlimited number of stops. If you want more routes, the mobile-only service is $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year. Drivers that need more functionality can subscribe with plans starting at $149 per month.
Can Anyone Buy Gas At Walmart?
Walmart is known for low prices inside the store, but did you know that its famous low prices are also available at the gas pump? There is no membership required, so the next time you see a Walmart with some gas pumps, it may make sense to stop in and fill up your tank.
Can Anyone Buy Gas At Costco?
Costco is a membership-based retailer that offers great prices in a warehouse setting. Although you can save money by eating at their food court without a membership, if you want to take advantage of their low prices on gasoline, you'll need to be a member.
I'm a member of Costco, but I rarely buy gas there. The lines are usually six cars deep so whatever savings you'll save on gas prices is offset by the amount of time it takes to fill up. Unless there are only one or two cars ahead of me, I'd rather pay a little bit more to get in and out quickly at a nearby gas station.
Best Credit Cards For Gas Purchases
Credit cards are an excellent way to earn valuable rewards and cash back. Some credit cards reward cardholders with bonus miles, points, and cash back when you spend money at gas stations.
These are the best gasoline credit cards that offer the most rewards.
American Express Business Gold Card
The American Express Business Gold Card gives cardholders 4x points based on the top two out of six spending categories. You will earn 4x points on the first $150,000 in combined spending each year.
Hilton Honors American Express Card
With Hilton, you have three options to earn bonus Hilton Honors points when purchasing gasoline. The base credit card, the Hilton Honors American Express Card, has no annual fee and earns 5x points on gas station purchases.
Upgrading to the Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card with a $95 annual fee gives cardholders 6x points on gas, dining, and groceries within the US.
Plus, you'll have automatic Hilton Honors Gold status, a Priority Pass membership, and an opportunity to earn Diamond status and a free weekend hotel night based on your spending.
Business owners can apply for the $95 annual fee Hilton Honors Card American Express Business Card which provides 6x on gas plus five other business-related categories. This card also offers a Priority Pass membership, automatic Gold status, and the ability to earn two free weekend nights and Diamond status based on annual spending.
Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express
The $95 annual fee Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express earns 6% cash back on groceries (up to $6,000 in spending per year) and 3% cash back on gas and transit expenses.
IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card
The IHG Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card earns 2x points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. This card has no annual fee and you'll receive a free annual night that can be used to book rooms worth up to 40,000 points. Additionally, if you spend $10,000 per calendar year you will receive IHG Gold Elite status.
Ink Business Cash Credit Card
The Ink Business Cash Credit Card is the only no annual fee business credit card on the list. However, even though there's no annual fee, cardholders can be rewarded with 5x cash back on office supplies, phone service, internet, and cable plus 2x cash back on gasoline and dining.
The 2x and 5x cash back categories are limited to the first $25,000 in spend each anniversary year.
Citi Premier Card
The $95 annual fee Citi Premier Card earns 3x ThankYou Points on travel, including gas stations, plus 2x on dining and entertainment. The points earned are worth 25% more when used to book airfare, so cardholders are earning almost 4% back on their gasoline and travel purchases. The points can also be transferred to one of Citibank's airline partners for even more value.
Alternative Ways To Save Money On Gas
Using technology and credit cards rewards is a great way to save money on gas. But old-school methods can be just as effective.
Proper Tire Inflation
Pay attention to the numbers on the side of your tires. Not only do they tell you the size of your tire, but they also specify how much air should be in them. According to the NHTSA, proper tire inflation can save you as much as 11 cents per gallon.
Get Regular Maintenance On Your Engine
Taking care of your engine can also improve your vehicle's performance. According to CarsDirect , skimping on regular oil changes can reduce fuel efficiency due to oil breakdown and sludge buildup. Not only will proper maintenance improve fuel efficiency, but it will also extend the life of your vehicle.
Reduce The Weight Inside Your Car
We all carry too much stuff inside our vehicle. Remove those extra items if you want to save some money. According to FuelEconomy.gov, for every extra 100 pounds you carry around, your fuel efficiency is reduced by 1%. Keep in mind that smaller cars are more affected by this extra weight than larger ones.
Choose A Fuel-Efficient Vehicle
Don't trade in your car to save a couple of dollars on your next fill-up. But when it comes time to replace your current vehicle, consider choosing a more fuel-efficient car or engine option.
It's OK To Walk Or Ride Your Bike
In today's hurry-up culture, we feel the need to drive everywhere. Sometimes you are better off walking or riding a bike to complete an errand. Getting in those steps provides an opportunity to move your muscles while also breathing some fresh air. Plus, it can be a good excuse to walk with your friends and family or call someone you haven't talked to in a while.
The Ultimate Strategy To Find Cheap Gas Near Me And Save Money
The ultimate strategy to find cheap gas and save money is to use a combination of these methods. Bunch your errands together and drive along an efficient path using Route4Me. Use apps like GasBuddy or Waze to find cheap gas along the way. Register for the gas station loyalty programs to earn points towards saving money on gasoline and other goodies. Then pay for your gasoline purchase with a credit card that offers bonus points or cashback when spending money at a gas station.
And, whenever possible, consider riding your bike or taking a walk to run some of your errands. Your wallet and your waistline will thank you.