Cheaper Gas Without Going Out Of The Way – Daily Tip

Finding cheaper gasOne place that can really drain your savings (as well as your enthusiasm) is when you take actions that you think will save you money, but they really cost you more than you save. One perfect example of this is driving across town to save a few pennies a gallon on gas. The American Automobile Association estimated that it costs 56.1 cents a mile to drive a car in 2005. That means that if you drive several miles outside your normal driving route to save a few pennies on gas, you will actually be losing money. Therefore, when you are looking for cheaper gas, you should be searching for those gas stations that offer it for less which are within 1 mile along the route of your normal driving habits.

The normal instinct is to look for gas stations with good prices in the area surrounding your house and that’s where you probably currently purchase your gas. There are, however, other areas in your city that you should search for cheaper gas. It makes sense to check gas prices near your work, where you shop for groceries, near your workout gym or any other place where you drive on a regular basis. The Internet has made it easy to search for these gas stations with websites like Gas Buddy.

While you don’t want to waste money, you do want to reduce the cost of your driving as much as possible because every penny a gallon you can save on gas without going out of your way to do so will result in about $10 in savings for the average driver over the year (your actual savings will depend on how much your drive and what gas mileage your vehicle gets). Reduce the price you pay for gas by $0.05 over what you were paying and that’s an extra $50 in your pocket over the year.

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14 Responses to Cheaper Gas Without Going Out Of The Way – Daily Tip

  1. I’m sorry, I don’t follow how you equated saving 1 penny (I assume you mean per gallon) to $10 savings over the course of the year.

    If your calculations are correct, then driving to save 1 penny is an absolute waste of time. Show the work behind your numbers so I can prove how silly it would be to drive that extra mile to find cheaper gas!

  2. lexi says:

    Also, our local Giant Eagle (which we shop at occassionally) offers cash discounts off gas based on your spending accumulation. We routinely get .10, .20, even .30 or .40 cents off a gallon. We always try to fill up the bigger car with that discount, and save the 10 gallon tank for the regular price. Figure, if we fill 20 gallons, and save .30 cents per gallon, that is a $6.00 savings. Granted, we had to purchase $150 from Giant Eagle to get the .30 discount, but if it is items you would have purchased anyway, and the price is right, that is quite a savings. I usually only buy their items on sale, their reduced meat (which I freeze immediately), and sometimes reduced produce. I very rarely buy items that are not on sale, because I find their prices high, but they do double coupons, so it pays to know your prices.

  3. Gigi says:

    Don’t get me wrong, I look for cheap gas too, but let’s be realistic. If all the gas stations in your area differ by 3 cents and you fill up with 15 gallons. Wow, what a bargain you might think. But that’s only $0.45. If you fill up once a week, that’s $23.40/ year. Cut 5 lattes out of the year, and it’s covered. I get irked by people complaining about gas prices and when you look at reality, it’s under $1 or even 50 cents.

  4. Charles Martin says:

    To justanotherblogger:

    I guess it would depend on how much gas you actually use during the year, but he was referring to saving a penny PER GALLON. My wife and I carpool to work, but we have to gas up about once a week. That means about 16 gallons a week, or 16×52 = 832 / year. Thus, if I can save 1 penny per gallon, then I’ve saved $8.32 / year. As I said, it depends on how much gas you actually USE per year.

  5. lexi says:

    Depending on your driving, I actually come up with much less savings per year, but again, if you drive more miles per year than I, that would differ. Figure up how many gallons your normally get, (I have a ten gallon tank, so never more than that). Then, figure how often you fill your tank, mine is once a month, rarely twice a month, depending on trips. Even at twice a month, and saying my tank was empty, that is 24 times a year, at .10 cents savings each time, that is only $2.40 that I am saving. I find there is such a wide variety where we live though in gas prices. I drive 3-4 miles to work everyday (I do not work in the city) and even between my rural route to and from work and home and groceries, I may have as much as ten cents difference between stations at the same time.

  6. Charles Martin says:

    To Gigi:

    If you diligently cut out expenses in all areas (not just gas), you can save hundreds or thousands a year. Some people will actually find this suggestion about gas prices a big help (i.e., travelling salesmen, delivery guys, couriers). Some won’t (homemakers, home businesses, cyclists). Take the good with the bad and do what you need to do to save money. However, don’t down Steve just for making a suggestion about something you don’t find would save you much. Not every suggestion works for everyone (I don’t drink those fancy crappucinos, but I won’t complain about a post explaining the savings from cutting back on those just cuz it won’t save me a dime).

  7. Exactly, my point is that driving around to save 1 penny/gallon is a waste of time. As Charles and lexi showed, the amount you save over the course of ONE year is under 10 dollars.

    Let’s take Charles Martin as an example:
    52 trips to the gas station each year x 5 extra minutes (round trip) = 260 minutes or 4 hours and 20 minutes.

    Take the amount Charles’ saved, $8.32, divide it by 260 minutes, and you have saved $1.92 for each hour of your time. And that doesn’t even factor in the extra gas you would’ve used to get to the cheaper gas station!

    Ultimately, I think you’re better off saving your time, filling up quickly and getting on with your lives 🙂

  8. Actually, Gigi makes a great point about being realistic. Some things are too petty and insignificant to be worth our time. I also often get irked by posts like these.

    Steve made a good point about how one can save money by scouting for cheaper gas, BUT he should have also pointed out how fruitless this exercise is for most of us.

    Oh, and I made a mistake in my calculations earlier. I didn’t pick up the fact that you were carpooling. So, assuming it’s just you and your wife in the car, the amount you saved per person is half of $1.92/hour – a measly 96 cents.

  9. Charles Martin says:

    Personally, I only bother going out of the way if I know that it’ll save me at least 5 cents a gallon. I, too, agree that you can go well out of the way and waste more gas and time than you save. However, if I had to choose among 5 gas stations on my route home, it helps to pay attention on the drive to work as to which one was the cheapest. Most of the time, it is still that way in the evening and you can save several cents just for paying attention (no cost in that).

    As for “being realistic”, as I pointed out, not everyone will benefit from watching their gas expenditures, but some will. Be REALISTIC and know that the posts on this weblog are for a larger audience than you.

  10. pfadvice says:

    The point I was trying to make was not to drive around looking for gas – to fill up at a station on your regular route – my apologies if that did not come out clear in the post. That is why I suggested using gas buddy to find a station on your regular route. The 1 mile suggestion was also to emphasize to find stations on the regular route – not to deviate looking for it (and not to go a mile out of your way to find it – again, my apologies if that did not come out clear). If you have a choice of 2 stations that are both on your route so there is no inconvenience using one or the other and one sells gas for $0.03 less, that’s approx $30 in your pocket for the year (yes, this number will vary depending on your driving habits and what you drive)

    The suggestions is to look for convenient stations that you may not have considered on your regularly traveled routes instead of only those near your house to save money 😉

  11. Cristi Smith says:

    I actually am one that this might help. I however, don’t drive around to get the best price. I already do what is suggested and try to get the best price on my route. For me this is a savings. I drive an SUV and I don’t complain that it takes more to fill it but I do try to get the best buy. So I probably put approx 15 gallons per week in my truck. If I save .03 per gallon at Kroger vs Shell then how much did I save over the course of a year? calculations: 15 gal X 2.59 = $38.85 (weekly) 15 gal X 2.56 = 38.40 A savings of .45 per week x 52 = $23.40 per year. Now, that is is I only do the .03 savings. I try to do the kroger thing at least once a month or two to get the .10 off. and since theirs is before coupons. I can do it without actually spending the $100 to get the savings. And of course these numbers are if I only put 15 gallons in. some weeks it is more. It isn’t going to make me rich but it is still a savings. Feel free to make sure I figured right.

  12. acezz4e_tish says:

    I fill two cars a week. I have to put more in one vehichle about ten dollars over the regular fill up. i live in a no bussing area, so i have to drive kids to school and pick up. two of my three in school go to the elementary, drop off at 740a pick up at 4 pm. my other son is half dayer, at preschool, drop off 11 50a pick up at 2 50p. 3cents makes a big difference to us. Dave uses the cavalier and it gets better mileage then my windstar. i put money on a walmart card that saves me 3 cents per gallon and its always 3 cents less the anyone in town. i save 90 cents a fill up on my windstar plus the extra 30 cents for the 10 i put in more a week, so thats 1.20, and daves car is another 90 cents thats 2.10 a week.thats 109.40 saved a year. you also gotta, if u use less then we do, take into affect savings elsewhere and add that up. such as, needing new wash clothes, u like quality, those are approx 4 dollars each and the dollar tree has a truck load, 1. each for cannon bath cloths. u buy 4 for 4 dollars, the cost of one. you may only save 20 cents on gas, but if u use your own bags at krogers for thier 3 cents per bag reused and u use ten bags, thats 30 more and thats 50 cents so far this week. each 20 cents adds up quick, five things at 20 cents is one dollar. one dollar is 52 dollars in a year.

  13. Heather says:

    While I don’t disagree that you should be on the lookout for the cheapest gas on your routes, most people could save a heck of a lot more money by simply adjusting their driving habits to USE less gas. Like going the speed limit, not following too closely (means you can take your foot off the gas rather than applying the brakes most times, which means less overall speed variability), coasting to a red lights and stop signs, not accelerating like a bat out of Hades at every opportunity.

  14. Champion Cheapskate says:

    Expanding your regualr route to find cheap gas may lead to savings in other areas such as bargain food and clothing stores and other hidden gems. But don’t drive around aimlessly in search of. . .

    Listen for local braodcasts of cheap gas and check with relatives and friends. Target your search and write these things down.

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