The Easy Way To Save On Gas On Your Next Road Trip

The day of your road trip is approaching. The car is packed with blankets, pillows, and a first aid kit. You're crunching the numbers again, trying to get the most accurate estimate on accommodations and calculating how much gas will cost. Gas prices are on the rise, meaning more of your road-trip money will likely be spent on refilling the tank than on souvenirs. With that being said, there are multiple ways to save on gas.

While prices aren't as steep as they were in 2022, 2023 gas prices have averaged on the higher end. It can be frustrating trying to find the best price for gas, especially if you're in a new area and just passing through. The last thing you want to do is waste gas while searching for the best gas price — this will obviously cost you time and money. Luckily, there are some tips and apps that can help you save.

Location matters

If you're using a rental car, you might think the nearby gas station is the most convenient — simply fill up the tank when you're returning the car, right? This, however, is a mistake if you're trying to spend less on gas. Gas stations close to rental agencies tend to be pricier than those a few miles out. If you're trying to save on cash, remember to fill up before you get close to the rental place.

Rental car or not, gas apps can be your new best friend on a road trip. Apps like GasBuddy (which shows you gas prices in real-time at nearby stations and saves you a couple of cents on each gallon if you use its card) and Upside (which can get you cash-back rewards) are great for avoiding high prices. A little bit of planning can make your road trip efficient and cost effective.

Savings add up over time

You could strike some savings by opting to pay with cash rather than a card — about 5 to 10 cents per gallon. The reason behind this is because of the bank and credit card fees that gas stations have to pay when you use a card. Often, gas stations will pass that expense to their customers. If you have a debit card, you might be able to avoid this, but some places might still charge a fee. While 5 to 10 cents a gallon doesn't sound like a lot, it adds up over time. 

Enrolling in a rewards program can also help you save. You can do this through a credit card or a gas station loyalty program. Usually, you'll get either a couple cents off each gallon you buy or cash-back rewards that can be acquired through gas purchases (and oftentimes, other types of purchases as well).

Whatever method you use, your savings can add up over time. While it might not seem like much when a single transaction only saves you pennies, you might be surprised to see how much you'll save over the span of a year.