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21 Expert Ways to Save Money at the Gas Pump

Updated on September 16, 2017
Gregory DeVictor profile image

Gregory is a financial adviser and author. He writes e-books on consumer finance topics and specializes in the U.S. grocery industry.

Trimming the excess fat from your budget is not as difficult as it might seem. Although you may have little control over your mortgage or day care costs, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars every year on groceries, utilities, gasoline, cell phone charges, taxes, bank fees, a new car or computer, dental care, prescriptions, entertainment, and much more.

This hub will teach you 21 ways to save money at the gas pump.

1. Shop at supermarkets that have fuel perks programs. You can save 10 - 20 cents off a gallon of gas for every $100 you spend on groceries, prescriptions, and qualifying gift cards.

Here is a comprehensive list of 40 grocery store and gas station fuel perks programs:

Acme - Receive 10 cents off per gallon for every $100 you spend. You can redeem your savings at Sunoco stations on up to 25 gallons of gas.

Albertsons – Earn 10 cents off per gallon for every $100 spent. You can redeem your perks at Texaco and Chevron stations.

BP Driver Rewards – Receive 10 cents off per gallon—up to 20 gallons--for every $100 spent on BP fuel. You can also link your BP Driver Rewards to a qualified credit or debit card. When you use it to pay at the pump, you’ll earn rewards automatically.

Cub Foods - Receive 10 cents off per gallon for every $100 you spend. You can fill up at participating Holiday stations on up to 20 gallons of gas.

Dillions, Food 4 Less, JayC, King Soopers, Ralphs, and Smith’s Food & Drug – Receive 10 cents off per gallon for every $100 that you spend on groceries, airline cards, and no-contract wireless phones. You can fill up at participating Shell stations on up to 35 gallons.

Dillions, Food 4 Less, JayC, King Soopers, Ralphs, and Smith’s Food & Drug are all members of the Kroger family of stores.

Food City – Earn 15 cents off per gallon for every $150 spent. You can redeem your savings at Gas n’ Go stations.

Fred Meyer - Receive 10 cents off per gallon for every $100 you spend. You can redeem your perks at Shell and Fred Meyer stations on up to 35 gallons of gas.

Fry’s Food – Get 10 cents off per gallon for every $100 spent. You can fill up at participating Circle K and Shell stations.

Giant Eagle – Receive 10 cents off per gallon for every $50 you spend at Giant Eagle, GetGo, Market District, or Giant Eagle Express. You can earn fuel perks by purchasing groceries and health and beauty aids, having prescriptions filled, buying gift cards, and by using Giant Eagle’s dry cleaning, shirt laundry, and photo services. You can redeem your savings at GetGo stations on up to 20 gallons of gas. (By the way, this is one of the best fuel perks programs around.)

Giant Food Gas Rewards – Receive one point for every dollar spent with your Giant Card. Once you earn 100 points, you’ll receive 10 cents off per gallon of gas at a Giant or participating Shell station. Points are valid for 30 days.

HyVee Fuel Saver + Perks - Earn discounts at the pump when you purchase designated products at Hy-Vee stores. Your rewards can be redeemed at Hy-Vee fuel stations as well as at participating Shell stations.

Ingles – Earn five cents off per gallon for every $100 spent. You can redeem your perks at Ingles stations on up to 20 gallons of gas.

Jewel-Osco - Receive 10 cents off per gallon for every $100 spent on groceries and prescriptions. Fuel perks expire at the end of the month following the one in which they were earned. For example, rewards earned in August can be used through the end of September. You can redeem your perks at participating Shell stations on up to 20 gallons of gas.

Kroger – Receive 10 cents off per gallon for every $100 you spend. You can earn fuel perks by purchasing groceries and health and beauty aids, having prescriptions filled, buying gift cards, and completing customer satisfaction surveys. Fuel perks expire at the end of the month following the one in which they were earned. For example, rewards earned in September can be used through the end of October. You can fill up at Shell and Kroger stations on up to 35 gallons of gas.

Lassus Handy Dandy Rewards – Receive 500 points just for signing up. Receive 10 points for every gallon of gas paid for at the pump and 20 points for every dollar spent in the store. The points you earn can be used for gas discounts as well as for gift cards and merchandise. This program is very similar to Speedway’s.

Market 32 – Earn 10 cents off per gallon for every $100 spent. You can redeem your savings at Sunoco stations.

Pay Less Supermarkets - Receive 10 cents off per gallon for every $100 you spend. You can redeem your perks at Shell gas stations.

Price Chopper – Earn 10 cents off per gallon for every $100 spent. You can fill up at Sunoco stations on up to 20 gallons of gas.

Quality Food Centers (QFC) - Receive 10 cents off per gallon for every $100 you spend. You can redeem your savings at participating Shell stations.

Redner’s Pump Perks – Earn 10 cents off per gallon for every $100 spent. You can redeem your perks at Sunoco stations on up to 20 gallons of gas.

Safeway, Carrs, Pavillions, Randall's, Tom Thumb, and Von's – Receive one point for every dollar spent on groceries, two points for every dollar spent on qualifying gift cards, and one point for every dollar spent on pharmacy items. Once you earn 100 points, you’ll receive 10 cents off per gallon of gas up to 20 gallons at Safeway fuel stations or at participating Sunoco stations.

There are now over 1,300 Safeway stores in the USA including:

  • 266 Safeway stores in Northern California and Hawaii
  • 273 Vons stores in Southern California and Nevada
  • 26 Pavillions stores in Southern California
  • 107 Randalls and Tom Thumb stores in Texas
  • 28 Carrs stores in Alaska
  • 66 Safeway stores in Maryland, 41 in Virginia, 14 in Washington, D.C., and four in Delaware.

Save Mart Gas Rewards - Earn 5 cents off per gallon for every $50 spent, 10 cents off per gallon for every $100 spent, etc. Fuel perks expire at the end of the month following the one in which they were earned. For example, rewards earned in September can be used through the end of October. You can fill up at Shell stations on up to 20 gallons of gas.

Shaw’s – Earn 10 cents off per gallon for every $100 spent. You can redeem your savings at Sunoco stations on up to 25 gallons of gas.

Shell Fuel Rewards Program – You can save five cents per gallon of gas when you fill up at participating Shell stations. According to Shell, here’s how the program works:

  • Join the Fuel Rewards® program and receive instant Gold Status.
  • Swipe your Fuel Rewards® card or enter your Alt ID when you fuel at a participating Shell station.
  • You’ll earn five cents per gallon for every fill-up.
  • The five cents per gallon reward for Gold Status will be combined with other rewards in your Fuel Rewards® account.

Shop ‘n Save – Receive 10 cents off per gallon for every $50 you spend. You can redeem your perks at Sunoco stations on up to 30 gallons of gas. (This is also one of the best fuel perks programs around.)

Speedway (Speedy Rewards) - Earn 20 points per dollar spent for in-store purchases and 10 points per dollar spent at the pump. Points can be redeemed for free stuff like food, beverages, or fuel discounts.

Star Market - Earn 10 cents off per gallon for every $100 spent. You can fill up at Sunoco stations on up to 25 gallons of gas.

Stop & Shop – Receive 10 cents off per gallon for every $100 you spend. You can redeem your savings at Shell and Stop & Shop stations.

Walmart partners with Murphy USA gas stations (not Murphy Express) to save you three cents per gallon when you pay with a Walmart gift card, Walmart MoneyCard, or Walmart MasterCard or Visa.

Weis Markets - Earn 10 cents off per gallon for every $50 spent. This is double of what you would earn at most other fuel perks programs. You can redeem your perks at participating Sheetz stations on up to 20 gallons of gas.

(Author’s note: Fuel perks’ terms and conditions can change at any time and without notice. In addition, BI-LO and Winn-Dixie both discontinued their fuel perks programs in 2017.)

2. Gas Price Watch lets you text your zip code to gas@fuelgo.com. They will respond with the names and addresses of the cheapest places to buy gas in your area. You can also use the AAA Triptik or GasBuddy apps on your smartphone to find the cheapest gas prices in your locale.

3. According to GasBuddy.com, there is a 65% chance that you will find the best prices at the gas pump on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

4. Avoid gas stations near the highway because they tend to be pricey.

5. Clean your car's air filter every 10,000 miles.

6. Warm up your car for shorter lengths of time. Debra Atlas tells us that “If you wake up to a cold morning, don’t warm up the car for longer than 30 seconds (up to one minute if you must). If you idle the engine for more than a minute, you waste fuel and pump nasty greenhouse gas emissions into the air. Engines of modern cars do not require the extensive length of time that older models needed to warm up.”

7. Rapid braking and accelerating decrease fuel efficiency.

8. Fill the tank full. Instead of adding two gallons today and three gallons tomorrow, save time and money and fill up all the way all at once.

9. Check your gas cap. Dan Shapley points out that “it's been estimated that nearly 17% of cars on the road have broken or missing gas caps. What's the big deal? Escaping fumes not only hurt fuel economy but release smog-causing compounds into the air. Avoid air pollution and improving fuel mileage is as easy as replacing a bad gas cap.”

10. Combine errands. For example, you can do the grocery shopping, buy postage stamps, pick up a prescription, and even do your banking all in one trip to the supermarket.

11. Buy discounted Gulf, Shell, and Mobil gift cards at GiftCardGranny.com. You might pay $90 for a gift card but get $100 worth of gas.

12. Don‘t forget to tune up. A properly maintained engine can increase fuel efficiency by up to 10%.

13. Don’t carry around nonessential odds and ends in your car. You lose one mile for every gallon of gas for every 250 extra pounds.

14. Don't let your engine idle.

15. Use cruise control.

16. Keep the windows closed especially at highway speeds.

17. Don't speed. According to FuelEconomy.gov, each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an extra 24 cents per gallon for gas.

18. Don't pack items on the top of your car.

19. Use the air conditioning only when it is absolutely necessary.

20. Purchase a more fuel-efficient vehicle. ConsumerReports.org explains how:

The typical person drives about 12,000 miles each year and pays an average of $2.35 for a gallon of regular gasoline, based on recent prices. If the models you are considering are separated by just 4 mpg, the results can be significant. For example, the Toyota Sienna minivan, which gets 21 mpg overall in our tests, would save about $315 per year in fuel costs alone compared with a 17-mpg Dodge Grand Caravan.

The same applies to midsized sedans. Choosing the 32-mpg Mazda6 over a 24-mpg Ford Fusion 1.5-liter four-cylinder would save about $295 per year. Stepping down one vehicle size could save a lot more. For example, driving a 26-mpg Subaru Forester rather than an 18-mpg Nissan Pathfinder would shave your fuel costs by more than $480 per year.

In the end, that savings could cover a monthly loan payment or two, or a significant portion of your annual insurance costs.

21. Ride a bicycle to work. According to the U.S. Census, nearly 750,000 Americans bike to work. Bicycling is a popular mode of transportation in cities like Portland, Denver, and Washington, DC.

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