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With gas prices going up, here’s how you can save more at the pump

Gas prices may be going up but there’s more control in your hands than you think.

Gas prices are going up as the the days go by. Many of us are wondering how we can save some money at the pump and not spend more. Well, there are simple ways to save some money while pumping your gas. Here’s something many drivers don’t do, according to a recent survey: shop around for the best prices.

According to a report from GasBuddy, drivers are likely to overpay by at leas 20 cents per gallons “due to factors such as laziness and procrastination.” GasBuddy is a website and app that helps consumers find the best gas prices around them.

“Motorists need to get outside of their comfort zone and shop around for the lowest price. It certainly can save you hundreds of dollars a year,” said Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis.

Per GasBuddy, they found several things that cost drivers more money:

  • Running on Empty – As many as 65 percent of people wait until they have a quarter a tank left or running on empty before filling up. Around 19 percent of people fill up when they see good prices.
  • Bad Habits – 38 percent of respondents said that they use gas stations because it’s convenient, not because of best prices, while nearly 80 percent said they regularly fill-up at one gas station, regardless of prices.
  • Choosing an Easy Route – Survey respondents said they choose convenience of location over prices. Sixteen percent said that their decision was based on how convenient it was to get in and out while getting gas.

“You may be forced into a situation where you have to pull into the next gas station and unless you’re just really lucky that day it’s probably not the cheapest price,’ DeHaan said. “By planning ahead and avoiding those situations where you have far fewer options when you’re on E, you can plan ahead and find the cheaper station.”

So what can you do to save? Well, GasBuddy‘s research found that if you were to shop around more for the lowest prices, especially in areas like Chicago and Los Angeles, this could result in savings of $60 or more per month. That’s quite a number of meals, don’t you think?

That’s it? Nope! There are also a few other ways for you to save.

  • Take advantage of gas stations that offer discounts when you pay with cash instead of plastic.
  • If you have a gasoline credit card, they can typically offer a discount as high as 6 cents on the gallons with every purchase, according to lowcards.com. For example, if you get the Shell Drive for Five credit card, you’ll get 25 cents discounts on every gallon of Shell gas for the first two months. The discount goes down to 5 cents per gallon after the promotional period.
  • Some major gas companies also offer their own loyalty programs that you can take advantage of for discounts. For example, BP Driver Rewards will get you 10 cents off per gallon for every $100 you spend with them.
  • GasBuddy notes that wholesale places like Sam’s Club, BJ’s Wholesale and Costco, offer some of the lowest gas prices around. Of course, this doesn’t come free because you have to pay a membership fees, but if you add it all up, you can pay for the membership itself through the discounts and still save more, DeHann said.

According to AAA, gasoline prices have been rising over the past few weeks. Right now, the national average sits around $2.80 a gallon, the highest we’ve seen in three years. “Spring spikes are causing sticker shock and it’s not over just yet,” said AAA spokesperson Jeanette Casselano. “We expect gas prices to peak around the Memorial Day holiday and stabilize through the summer. AAA does not expect the national gas price to be reminiscent of 2011-2014, when motorists were paying on average $3.47 a gallon.”

In a AAA survey, it was found that if you were to change the way you drive or your lifestyle, it will help offset the rising gas prices. In the survey, it was seen that one in four would start making changes to their habits at $2.75 a gallon, while 40 percent say $3 is when they start making changes. These changes include reducing shopping and dining out (61 percent), combining errands or trips (79 percent), delaying major purchases (50 percent) and driving a vehicle that’s more fuel-efficient (46 percent).

Lastly, the way you drive has “a huge impact” on how well your fuel economy is, according to Mike Quincy at Consumer Reports Autos. If you’re going too fast, driving abruptly, for example, can cause issues in your fuel economy, he said. Drive safe out there!

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Hamza Khalid

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