retro gas stationAir travel is fun and fast, sure, but there's nothing like hitting the road in the summertime. It's the perfect way to see all the sights, no matter where your final destination is and how near or far it is. The only bummer is that gas prices in the warmest months tend to skyrocket. But there's no need for that spike at the pump to prevent you from taking that trip you've been dreaming of for months!

Here, six super-simple ways to hunt down the cheapest fuel on your journey ...

  1. GasBuddy.com or the Gas Buddy app - Like a smart and prepared camper, my husband is a pro at checking certain resources like this one before traveling. On this site (or app for Androids, iPhones, and BlackBerries), other users report the gas prices they've found so that you can identify the lowest price in your path.
  2. GasPriceWatch - GasPriceWatch is like GasBuddy, but it's a good one to check at the same time, because it may show a super-low price that was missed by GasBuddy (and vice versa). GPW also features a widget that shows gas prices throughout the U.S. (Perfect for that ultimate cross-country trip!)
  3. Buy gas outside your city limits - Depending on where you live, your gas may be higher taxed and more expensive. This is especially the case in large urban areas. So try to drive to gas stations just outside the city limits and gas prices are sure to go down. (Of course, don't go too far out of the way, as that kinda defeats the purpose!)
  4. Fuel Finder - If you have an iPhone, you can purchase this app for $2.99. Okay, so it's a little investment, but it could also help you save much more than that. The app has almost perfect reviews and can supposedly offer a savings of more than $300 a year on gas by aggregating info from millions of users in the U.S. and Canada.
  5. Look for especially busy stations - No doubt, when you're coming up on a crowded gas station, it's likely that they're touting extraordinarily low prices. (There's one I know of up the highway a bit from where I live that's always crazed, because they're the lowest in the area!) If you don't mind waiting a bit, you could stand to save big time.
  6. Get the most bang for your buck by doing some smart, targeted car maintenance - Before even heading out to find the cheapest gas, it doesn't hurt to ensure that your tires are properly inflated, as underinflated ones may reduce your car's gas mileage by as much as 15 percent. And tighten your gas cap, since loose, missing, or damaged gas caps cause 147 million gallons of gas to evaporate each year, according to the Car Care Council.

How do you plan to save on gas when you hit the road this summer?

 

Image via Wonderlane/Flickr