Monday, December 13, 2010

Saving Money on Gas

This post is part of a multi-part series on Saving Money A to Z here at Frugal Follies.

Now that gas has hit $3 per gallon in many areas, including mine, I'm sure many people are looking for ways to save on gas.

There are a few categories of ways to save.  One is by making improvements to your car so that it will use less gas.  I really don't have any expertise on this, so I'm going to leave it to other bloggers to give hints on this.

Secondly, you can just drive less.   Here are some ideas to make that happen:
  • Before you decide to go somewhere, think about whether it is really necessary at this time, or if you can go when you have other errands to run as well.
  • Group trips together.  Try to put all non-emergency trips at one time, so that you're not driving across town all the time.  Today, I wanted to go to the library and to ALDI, but they are in different directions.  So, I did the more important stop (ALDI, since we were out of milk) and left the library trip for another day.
  • Plan your trips to make as many right turns, and as few left turns, as possible.  Yes, seriously.  UPS does this to save on gas.  If you have several stops to make, choose a route that will minimize left turns, since you often have to stop and wait for a few minutes to get the green arrow and make the turn.  All that time, you're idling and wasting gas.  In most places, you can make a right turn on red after stopping and yielding to oncoming traffic, so usually you will sit for less time.
  • Carpool whenever possible.
  • Walk.  Yes, I know it's pretty radical, but maybe there are places you can go within walking distance.  I have a CVS that I can walk to - one day, I should do the math and see how much it costs to start the car and drive to Walgreens and back instead.  Yes, it takes a little longer, but don't we all need the exercise?
Thirdly, you can just pay less for the gas you use.  Some ideas:
  • Use a website like or Mapquest Gas Prices to find the cheapest gas in your area, or in an area where you plan to be (if you'll be in a less expensive area, it will save to get gas there).
  • Look for gift card deals at your local grocery store.  Both Winn-Dixie and Publix have had deals where if you buy a certain amount of groceries, you can save $5 or $10 off the cost of a gas station gift card.  That's free gas!
  • You can try buying gas gift cards for less than their face value, either on an auction website or on a site that allows people to buy, sell, or trade gift cards.  I'm not sure how safe this idea is, but if you're willing to take a chance, you can try it.  
  • Look for blog giveaways that are giving away gas gift cards.  Follow the instructions and try to enter as many times as the rules allow.  You never know!
Check out these sites for other frugal ideas:

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Susan December 15, 2010 at 7:07 AM  

I love that you brought up the right-turns thing too - I think about things like that and feel like a total geek :) I agree on all of these - I, too, try to walk when possible (not this week with single-digit temps). Small things all add up!

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