How to Save Money on Gas and What to Do When Gas Prices Increase

Here are some tips on how to save money on gas and things you can do to budget.

Gas prices are on the rise, and some people may be starting to budget to seek out deals on gas. Here are some tips on how to save money on gas and what to do when gas prices increase. There are a few ways you can try to get a better deal on your gas. Comparing prices at different stations and finding one that is offering a lower reduced price seems like common sense, but what else can you do? If you can't find a reduced price at any stations, try driving a fuel efficient car. A lot of new cars are now available with fuel efficient engines.

However, gas prices don’t just affect us during these peak driving times; they also rise whenever oil production increases. And with oil prices periodically spiking due to geopolitical unrest or wars in certain regions, we can expect higher prices than usual for a while. Luckily, we have various strategies outlined for you so you can choose the best one to cut down on expenses and maintain financial stability despite price fluctuations.

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Gas Savings Table of Contents
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    What is Gasoline?

    Gasoline is a petroleum-based liquid that contains various organic and inorganic compounds. It’s typically used as fuel for the combustion process of an internal combustion engine or engine cycle, though it can also be used with some flex fuel engines. In addition to being used as a fuel, gasoline is often blended with ethanol, methanol, or other substances to create fuels such as gasoline/ethanol blends and gas/alcohol blends.

    About Gas and Fuel

    Can I Mix Gasoline?

    Normally no. You should not concoct home mixtures of gas with any other additives. You know that feeling when you’re driving along? You know — the one where you hit the accelerator and your car starts to feel sluggish? The engine is working harder and harder to get the car moving, and soon enough it becomes apparent that there’s something amiss with the fuel mixture.

    That can happen if you choose to mix your own gas and the mixture makes the engine misfire or adds water to your gas lines. Keep in mind finding water in your car's gas line can also be a common scenario especially during the colder months when there is extra moisture in the air and we use our cars less. Using a bottle of HEAT can help resolve this problem though.

    How Is Gas Refined and Made From Oil

    Gasoline is a refined product of oil that is mainly used as a fuel for automobiles. The process of refining oil into gasoline is complex and often misunderstood. The refining process begins by removing the larger, solid particles from the crude oil, which is a mixture of different types of hydrocarbons. The crude oil undergoes a distillation process in order to separate its various components. The refining process begins by removing the larger, solid particles from the crude oil.

    This is then followed by an alkaline conversion process, which separates benzene from other compounds. Benzene is then converted into toluene, and then into xylene before finally being converted into gasoline. This entire process makes up the first step of how fuel gets made – but only one! There are also other steps that need to be taken in order for it to become fuel, such as purification, drying and blending with additives like methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), ethanol or methanol.

    This is often done by using a centrifuge which separates the large particles from the liquid. The liquid is then heated and the smaller hydrocarbons are vaporized. These vapors are then passed through a series of tubes where they are cooled and condensed back into liquids. The liquids are then separated into different grades of gasoline based on their octane ratings.

    How to Save Money on Gas

    Common Reasons Why Gas Prices Can Increase

    Gas prices can increase due to a variety of factors, but it’s important to understand what these factors are and how they can affect us.

    Oil Production

    When oil production increases or decreases, the price of gas usually follows suit. When it comes to gas prices, just about everyone is keeping a close eye on the market fluctuations. After all, most of us rely on our cars to get around and high gas prices can really affect our wallets. But what causes these fluctuations? A big factor is oil production. When oil production increases, the price of gas usually goes up because there's more demand for it. For example in 2008, U.S. oil production broke a 52-year record by reaching 9.6 million barrels per day (bpd), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

    Production increased to around 14.8 million bpd in 2016 but has since fallen to an average of 11.9 million bpd in 2022 according to Reuters. And when oil production decreases, the price of gas usually goes down because there's less demand. It's not just oil production that affects gas prices, though. Economic conditions and other political factors can also play a role. So if you're wondering why your gas prices seem to be constantly changing, look no further than oil production.

    The Impact of Natural Disasters

    Areas with high oil production are often the most vulnerable to natural disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes. When natural disasters strike, oil is often depleted and there’s an increased demand for it in order to fix the damages caused by natural disasters. The series of earthquakes like the 7.4 magnitude earthquake in Mexico in 2020 is a prime example of this. The area around Mexico City is home to many oil refineries, and the high concentration of these facilities made the area more susceptible to damage from the quake.

    Another example of how gas prices can be impacted by natural disasters is Hurricane Harvey, which struck the Gulf Coast of Texas in 2017. That area was home to many refineries and other critical oil infrastructure areas, and the hurricane caused significant damage to these facilities. This led to a spike in gas prices across the country. It's important to remember that areas with high oil production are also vulnerable to other types of disasters, such as wildfires and floods. So if you're living in or near an area with a lot of oil infrastructure, be prepared for potential emergencies.

    Economic Downturns and Recessions

    When economic conditions worsen, people have less income to spend on gas, meaning that demand for gas drops and prices go up accordingly. For example, in 2008 when the United States was in the midst of a recession, the average price for a gallon of gasoline was $4.11. In contrast, in 2011 when the economy had begun to improve, the average price for a gallon of gasoline was only $3.51.

    This trend can be seen all around the world; when economies are doing well, demand for gas goes up and prices follow suit, but when economies are struggling, demand for gas goes down and prices increase as a result. This is because when people have less money to spend, they are more likely to cut back on expenses such as gasoline, which leads to less demand and higher prices.

    Political Unrest

    If political tensions rise dramatically in certain regions or countries, we could expect higher prices for a while based on the speculation that supply will be disrupted as a result of political instability (in other words, won’t be able to produce at an adequate capacity). If these tensions continue to increase, we can expect gas prices to go up along with them.

    One of the biggest factors that determines gas prices is the price of oil. When political tensions are high in oil-producing countries, the price of oil tends to go up. This then causes gas prices to increase as well. So far, we've seen a lot of political tension in countries like Russia, Iran, and Venezuela. If these tensions continue to escalate, it could lead to a significant increase in gas prices across North America and Europe. In fact, some analysts are predicting that gas price averages could reach as high as $6 per gallon by the end of the year.

    War and Conflict on a Global Scale

    War can cause an increase in demand due to wartime rationing (an imposed limit on fuel usage) and increased transportation activity during military planning or combat operations. For example when the U.S. went to war in Iraq, gas prices increased by approximately 40 cents per gallon. The main reason for this increase was due to the war’s impact on oil production in the region. A disruption in supply led to a rise in prices, as evidenced by the global oil price spikes that occurred during the early years of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

    The rise in gas prices has a ripple effect throughout the economy and impacts shipping, transportation, and supply chains. For example, it can lead to an increase in food prices, as farmers have to pay more to transport their goods. It can also lead to an increase in inflation, as businesses pass along their higher costs to consumers. While there is no single, definitive answer as to why gas prices tend to go up when we go to war, there is little doubt that this phenomenon is the result of multiple contributing factors.

    Fuel Price Speculation

    There are always those who want to speculate on future increases in gas prices before they happen because they see value in investing now. Investments made before the fuel price hike takes place later down the line allows them to profit when it would be harder to turn around their investment (or they might not be able to turn it around at all).

    The problem with this is that speculative investments can create panic in the markets and spread false information. Speculation can sometimes become a self-fulfilling prophecy or other times just be hot air. For example, there was an undercurrent in the summer of 2018 expecting gas prices to increase, but it never happened. There are many factors that go into gas prices, and predicting them is not an exact science. In fact, the only thing that is certain is that they will change over time due to the other economic and global factors mentioned here. So if you're looking to invest in gas prices, be prepared for volatility and be sure to do your research first.

    Gas

    All conventional vehicles need fuel like gas and diesel to run. While the need is constant, fuel prices can change.

    Fuel Prices

    Fuel prices can change due to a variety of factors including those related to supply chain shortages and production decreases.

    Ways to Save

    Saving money on gas is great, but there are more ways you can save on your car like refinancing your car loan and auto debt.

    Looking to Save Money?

    Refinancing Your Car Loan Can Help You Save Even More Money

    MPG and Increasing Costs

    What You Can Do About the Increasing Cost of Gas

    When it comes to saving gas, one thing you can do is take a look at your vehicle. Is your current car fuel efficient? If it is now, you can switch to a fuel-efficient make and model. Switching to a more fuel-efficient vehicle will help you save money in the long run. But, that’s not the only way it’s possible to save on gas. For one thing, you can try driving less and using public transportation whenever possible.

    In addition, if you want to avoid spending extra cash on gas when prices increase, consider combining trips with a carpool or sharing driving expenses through rideshare programs. Another strategy is to use online tools like GasBuddy.com or GasBuddy® iOS app to find the cheapest gas stations near your area. If you are taking short trips, you can even find alternative ways of getting around town like bicycling or walking.

    How Many Miles per Gallon Does Your Car Get?

    The first step to saving money on gas is calculating your car’s gas mileage. The number of gallons your fuel tank holds combined with your vehicle's fuel efficiency factors into your range and miles per gallon or MPG. It would be helpful to know how many miles per gallon your car gets in order to avoid buying extra fuel when prices go up. If you have a base model sedan and it gets 30 miles per gallon, then you can expect to drive around 600 miles for every twenty gallons of gas that you purchase. Sometimes, when gas prices are low, it might be more economical for you to fill up your tank with less than 20 gallons which will save you some dough between longer trips.

    Driving Your Car Less

    As a first step, consider driving less. This will save you money on gas and also help the environment by reducing emissions. Try to use public transportation like buses, trams, metros, and light rails as much as possible during your commute to work or trips around your town or city. Even if you decide to continue driving your own vehicle, try to avoid letting it idle when parked or when sitting in your driveway. You can also try putting it into neutral when you come to a stoplight or stop sign and avoid excessive acceleration. This could save you dollars per month in gas money!

    Planning Out Your Travels to Save on Gas

    Planning out your travels and driving routes helps save gas and limit time on the road. Whether you are summer road tripping or running errands in the winter, it’s important to plan out your trips in order to save money on gas. Previously, you may have simply filled up your tank and hit the road. Now, try to be mindful of how, when, and where you need to drive.

    Planning out your routes has a few advantages. First, you can combine your trips and stops by traveling the most fuel efficient route between them. This will help you save by conserving gas you would otherwise have used to backtrack or make the extra leg of the trip — potentially paying for more gallons of fuel than needed while traveling. This will also keep you informed of any new construction or roadwork. This is great to know even if you frequent the area since department of transportation (DOT) work crews may be performing roadway maintenance in the vicinity of your travels. Also remember it is best to have a full tank of gas if you encounter traffic jams, construction closures, shutdown highways due to accidents, or busy commutes.

    Second, it can help you save money on gas by avoiding areas with higher gas prices. By planning ahead, you can choose to fill up at cheaper gas stations rather than paying a premium wherever you find yourself on the road. You can also save in other ways by doing things like avoiding toll roads by using Google's map options. Mapping out your route beforehand also can save you gas money, time, and frustration compared to getting directions on the fly while driving from your phone call or GPS app.

    Changing Vehicles for a More Fuel Efficient Model

    Another strategy to cut down on expenses is to start investing in a fuel-efficient car to electric vehicle (EV). It's no secret that people are constantly looking to save money on gasoline, but how about changing vehicles? Have you ever wondered how much you can actually save by switching to a more fuel-efficient car? According to fueleconomy.gov, the answer depends on your current vehicle. For example, if you drive a Ford F-150 that gets 15 miles per gallon in the city and 21 miles per gallon on the highway, you could potentially save $1,000 a year (depending on number of annual miles driven) by switching to a more fuel efficient car like a Toyota Prius.

    The Toyota Prius C, which gets 50 miles per gallon in the city and 54 miles per gallon on the highway. Of course, your individual savings will depend on how much you drive and what type of car you switch to. But with gas prices continually rising, it's worth doing the math to see if making the switch to a subcompact or compact with higher MPG is right for you.

    • Maintaining Your Current Vehicle

      Even if you don’t buy a hybrid or electric car, maintaining your current vehicle can help you save on gas. Keeping your tires properly inflated to the recommended pressure and using high-efficiency tires can shave pennies off your gas bill. When inflating your tires, try to use a nitrogen gas to prevent pressure (PSI) variation in hot or cold weather. If you have a lifted Jeep or truck with massive aftermarket tires like 30 inches or larger, consider removing them and putting on smaller tires with better fuel efficiency. You could even swap out your engine for a more efficient engine that can save on fuel costs over time.

    Creating a Gas Budget

    One of the most important strategies for saving money on gas is to create a budget. The sooner you do this, the better. While creating your budget, you will want to consider how much you earn each month and what percentage of that money will be allocated toward your gas and fuel expenses. You can also take into account any other expenses you have when calculating your monthly budget. This might seem like an overwhelming process at first, but it’s actually quite simple once you get started. Simply divide every expense in your budget evenly across the months specified in your budget.

    For example, if you have an income of $4,000 each month, you can budget the following expenses: $1,400 on rent, $300 on food and groceries, $100 on entertainment, $200 on smartphones and cable, $200 on odds and ends, $100 on pet expenses, $100 on gas, and saving 10% of your income. Then you should have $1,200 left over for any other unpaid bills, car insurance, and other things. Your gas budget would be 0.025% of your total income.

    This also depends if you know how much you drive each week. If your travels vary or mileage differs from day to day, you could potentially have to spend more on gas because then it's not a fixed amount. You can use a trip calculator to log distances between locations and then use your vehicle's MPG rating to figure out the gas cost.

    Using Gas Cards, Memberships, and Rewards

    About Gas Cards

    Gas cards are a great way to pay for gas without overspending when you need to completely fill up your gas tank. Gas card programs let you sign up for a service that offers rebates and discounts on a certain number of gallons per month that you can use at most stations in the country. If you’re going out of town and need to fill up, it’s also possible to use the card at various higher priced stations in the area to keep from getting stuck with an expensive gas bill.

    Using a card like the 7-Eleven fuel card, you can use it at 95% of gas stations (may vary by region or state) and save between $0.03 and $0.07 per gallon of gas with savings of $0.06 to $0.10 per gallon of diesel depending on the amount of fuel used. The more fuel you use with the 7-Eleven gas card each month, the more you can save. These savings can add up quickly if you are trucking or driving for a small business or as a ride-share driver.

    Monthly gas use to savings breakdown:

    • 0-4,999 monthly gallons used can give you a gas rebate of $0.03 and a diesel rebate of $0.06
    • 5,000-9,999 monthly gallons used can give you a gas rebate of $0.04 and a diesel rebate of $0.07
    • 10,000-14,999 monthly gallons used can give you a gas rebate of $0.05 and a diesel rebate of $0.08
    • 15,000-19,999 monthly gallons used can give you a gas rebate of $0.06 and a diesel rebate of $0.09
    • 20,000+ monthly gallons used can give you a gas rebate of $0.07 and a diesel rebate of $0.10

    Shopping Membership Gas Cards

    Membership gas cards Costco, Sam's Club, and King Soopers allow holders to save pennies at the gas pump. If you are a card holder, you know exactly why these programs are beneficial. These retail stores allow customers to shop for groceries and get gas on site or at a station nearby (as is the case with places like King Soopers). When you use your loyalty membership card on these gas pumps, you can often save between $0.03 and $0.10 a gallon or even more!

    Costco and Sam's Club are "big box" stores. They charge around $60 for a basic annual membership, and have member's only gas pumps on site near the rear or side of the parking lot. They are known for keeping gas prices low to encourage people to come in and shop. The result is gas savings which drastically outweigh the cost of membership! Look for these stores in your area. If you are a member — go fill up! If you are not currently a member yet, check out their membership options by visiting Join Costco or Join Sam's Club and learn how you can save on fuel and food costs.

    Other programs like AAA can also allow members to get discounts on gas and car repairs. These programs can be a good option if you cannot find a gas card or loyalty membership card program near you. These discounts can be substantial and can definitely help out your finances if gas prices continue to rise significantly.

    Credit Card Gas Reward Programs

    Using a credit card rewards program is another way you may be able to save on gas or find perks for gas purchases. Many credit card issuers offer gas savings programs that can help you save money on fuel purchases. Programs vary from issuer to issuer, but typically they offer a discount of $0.03 to $0.05 cents per gallon on fuel purchases made with the affiliated credit card. In some cases, the discounts can be even greater if you use the card at specific retailers or for purchases made in certain states.

    These work similarly to how some companies offer cash back or points for every purchase, some credit card issuers offer reward programs similar to what is offered by an airline program. While not always as useful as cash back or points, these rewards can help save money when they are applied towards the purchase of gasoline. To take advantage of a credit card's gas savings program, just look for the link on the issuer's website or use the search engine provided by the program.

    Other Ways to Save On Your Car

    There are many ways to save money on gas. You can find the best deals on gas, plan your trips, and take advantage of fuel rewards programs. When gas prices increase, you can make use of these strategies and take steps to reduce your fuel costs. By following these tips, you can save money on gas and keep more money in your pocket.

    How to Save Money on Gas at the Pump

    Gas Savings FAQs

    Have questions about fuel prices? Get answers, and find information.

    What is the best way to save money on gas?

    You can save money on gas a number of ways including using membership cards and apps like GasBuddy.

    What is the average fuel savings from using a gas card?

    Gas cards normally can save you around $0.05 a gallon depending on the card.

    How can I calculate fuel savings during road trips?

    You can find your road trip fuel savings the easiest by using our gas mileage calculator.