Whenever gas prices climb there is lots of talk of where to find the cheapest gas. Websites like GasBuddy.com can help you seek out which stations offer the lowest price for a gallon of gas, but will this really amount to significant savings? When comparing prices near me the difference between the lowest and highest prices was 4 cents per gallon. If you fill up a 16 gallon tank every couple of weeks (these numbers will be drastically different depending on how much you drive and how many miles per gallon your car gets) this is a difference of less than $17 a year (16 gallons x $0.04 cents per gallon x 26 fill ups a year = $16.64.) While every penny counts, this probably isn’t enough savings for most of us to stress out too much over which station to go to.
There are however other ways you can see serious savings on your gas costs. The most obvious is to simply drive less. Is there anywhere you could walk or bike and leave the car at home? Could you carpool with a co-worker or work from home a few days a week? Could the kids ride the school bus instead of being driven to and from school? Consider a family vacation closer to home rather than spending days in the car travelling to a destination several states away. All of these ideas certainly involve sacrifice but they could mean a positive impact on both your budget and the planet.
When it comes time to buy a new car consider the gas usage in your decision. A smaller more efficient car is likely to not only be more less expensive than an SUV or mini-van, but will use considerably less gas, saving you lots of money over the years you own the vehicle.
You can also take steps to improve the efficiency of the car you already own. Firestone Complete Auto Care offers tips on the website www.gasonomics101.com and explains how tire pressure, the speed you drive, and performing regular maintenance can positively affect the number of miles you can go on each gallon of gas.
I should also note that the warehouse clubs across town offered a 16 cents per gallon savings over the gas stations closer to me. I do try to fill up at the one I belong to if I am shopping there or if I am in the area, but by my calculations the gas I would use driving there just to fill up would cost more than twice what I would save by buying the cheap gas (approx $6.97 vs $2.56 – in, yes, my gas guzzling SUV – the numbers might make sense in a hybrid, but there’s still the time to consider.) If you have a warehouse club near your home, office, or along your regular commute you might want to consider whether you’d save enough (on gas and other items) to make it worth the cost of the membership.