Thanks to recent world events, gas prices have skyrocketed. In Rochester alone, the price of gasoline has risen to over $4 a gallon, with no signs of going down any time soon. The result is that a lot of us are pouring more of our paycheck into our cars than we’re comfortable with.
Unfortunately, there’s not much most of us can do to lower the price of gasoline. However, there are some steps you can take to lessen the sting you feel each time you pull up to the pump.
Use the Internet
The easiest way to combat rising gas prices is to harness the power of the Internet, particularly smartphone apps. For instance, if you do a search for gas prices on Google Maps, you’ll get to see the gas prices around you. There are also dedicated gas prices apps, like GasBuddy or GasGuru that will use your phone’s GPS to show you what gas stations in your area are charging.
While these apps won’t affect the price of gas, it can help you locate the cheapest prices in your area. If you’re traveling, you can even look along your route to find the gas stations with the lowest prices. You might also be interested to know that some of the detailed gas price apps will let you make notes about the gas stations for future reference, so you know which restrooms to avoid.
Keep Your Car Maintained
Car maintenance won’t magically lower your gas bill, but it will help you get better mileage. Keeping your tires properly inflated, for instance, can improve your gas mileage by 3% according to the Department of Energy. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but over time it can reduce how often you need to refill your tank.
Other car maintenance tasks that can increase your gas mileage include:
- Replacing dirty air filters
- Cleaning out your trunk
- Changing out old spark plugs
Look for Discounts
It’s almost an open secret that most of the major gas station chains offer rewards programs and credit cards that can give you a discount on gasoline. Some will give you points when you buy gas that you can exchange for cash back, while others might offer you a discount per gallon when you fill up at one of their stores. Before you sign up for one of these programs, though, make sure you go through all the terms and conditions to make sure that any conditions you may have to meet won’t end up costing you more than you save.
You can also get discounts on gasoline when you buy a club membership. The most well-known example of this is Costco, where a membership also gets you access to their discounted gasoline.
If you can’t take advantage of either of the previous options, you can always try paying in cash. A lot of gas stations will charge customers less if they use old-fashioned paper money—and in some cases, they might even offer you a discount if you use a debit card instead of a credit card.
Look for Different Ways to Get Around
Finally, you might want to consider finding ways to travel that don’t involve a gas-powered car. Riding a bike, for instance, can be a fun way to get around, especially if your city has dedicated bike trails and bike lanes.
You might also want to look into your city’s public transportation options. Rochester, for instance, has a decent public bus system that travels all over the city for only a couple of dollars per ride. If you live in a bigger city, like Minneapolis or Chicago, you can also use the train system.
Another option is to buy a car that doesn’t run on gas. Several car manufacturers now sell electric cars, but if you’d feel more secure with a gasoline engine you might want to look into buying a hybrid with an miles per gallon rating that’s higher than your current vehicle. If all else fails, you can always start walking. Granted, it’s slower than the other options, but it is free!
Take the Sting out of High Gas Prices With First Alliance Credit Union
Rising gas prices can cause your monthly expenses to quickly spiral out of control. However, you can save at the pump by researching the lowest gas prices with apps like GasBuddy and Google Maps, as well as by signing up for gas rewards programs. You might even want to consider using alternate means to get around town.
You can also take the sting out of refueling when you become a member of First Alliance Credit Union. Our uChoose rewards credit card will let you earn points for every dollar you spend that you can then use to get gift cards or cash back, and the My Money feature of our online banking platform will help you keep track of how much you’re spending on gas each month and help you plan for the future.