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You don’t have to settle for what the nearest gas station charges.

Key points

  • Working with friends and other members of your household can help reduce how often you have to drive.
  • There are gas stations and apps that will reward you with reduced fuel prices for your loyalty.

Everyone is looking for ways to save on transportation costs these days, but conventional advice like walking and taking public transportation doesn’t work for everyone. If you live in a small town like me, your nearest grocery store may be 10 miles away and there may not be a bus or subway system to speak of.

But that doesn’t mean you’re at the mercy of your local gas station. Here are some tips you can use to save money while driving your car every day.

1. Combine races

As far as possible, be strategic in your travels by car. Try to anticipate where you will need to go and when and combine as many routes as possible. See if you can do all your shopping for the week in one day, perhaps on the way home from work, to minimize the time you have to spend in the car.

Coordinate with other members of your household as well. Have a centralized shopping list somewhere where everyone can access it, and work together to complete other errands as efficiently as possible.

2. Carpooling

Carpooling is a great option to consider if you have co-workers or neighbors living near you who travel to the same places often. One person can drive and the other can donate some gas money. You can swap out who drives which day if you’re worried about putting too much wear and tear on a single vehicle.

If you plan to do this, you must communicate well with the other members of your carpool so that everyone knows where you are stopping that day. If this schedule is not convenient for you, you may have to drive alone from time to time.

3. Compare prices from nearby gas stations

There are apps, like GasBuddy, that can help you compare nearby gas station prices so you can find the best price. Even if you know most of the gas stations in your area, it’s worth trying as prices can change at any time. Checking an app is a much faster and more cost-effective way to identify the current lowest rate than driving all over town to check.

Some of these apps also include their own rewards programs, which can help you save fuel over time. It’s worth looking into if you drive a lot and find yourself refueling more than once a week.

4. Ask about gas station rewards programs

Some gas stations offer their own rewards for customer loyalty. It could also save you money over time, as long as you’re not averse to sticking to the same gas station brand. Possible perks include discounts at the pump and free food and merchandise. Members of the rewards program can also benefit from exclusive discounts.

You can sign up for a few different rewards programs if you want, but that might make it harder to accumulate a significant amount of rewards with just one company.

5. Use your credit card rewards

If you have a gas credit card, you can use it to pay for fuel and get a percentage of your expenses back. Or if you have a cash back credit card, consider redeeming your rewards for a gas station gift card. It may not help you save gas on a regular basis, but it can take care of filling up your tank once in a while.

Hopefully fuel prices won’t stay this high for too long, but in the meantime, thinking outside the box and trying some of the tips above can help keep your gas bills a little more manageable. See if you can think of any other ideas to help you save during these difficult times.

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