Cheap Gas Hunt Is On; 5 Ways to Win at the Pump

Julie Ryan Evans
6

gas pumpHoly crap, gas prices are high! They're soaring daily and set to spiral further and further out of control. Thursday night, gas prices spiked 6 cents alone, and CNN proclaims it the "Most Expensive February Ever."  Thanks, Gadhafi.

The national average for a gallon of gas is $3.287 per gallon -- the highest it has been since October 2008. Hawaii is hardest hit with gallons going for $3.757! And it's not going to get any better; some experts predict prices could increase by as much as 85 cents more per gallon this summer. Forget the road trips, I guess.

It's shocking to go fill up my small sedan and spend $60. The same car cost me about $40 a couple of years ago. That's a big difference! So the hunt for cheap gas -- or at least cheaper gas -- is on. Of course, that hunt shouldn't involve driving around aimlessly in search of a deal. Here are a few ways you can plan ahead to save some bucks at the pump:

Take Cash

It's a pain to get out of your car in the cold, or heat, or with children strapped into car seats, to walk in and pay, I know. But many stations offer a discount for paying with actual dollars, so it can be worth the hassle.

Warehouse Stores

Costco always offers gas a few cents cheaper than I can find anywhere else. You have to be a member, and you have to be willing to endure what are usually long lines, but you will typically save.

Web Searches

It's a lot cheaper to comparison shop online for gas than it is to burn it up driving around in your car looking for a deal. Sites like GasBuddy.com provide updates as to what the going prices are at various locations across the country. Now if only Groupon would get it in on the action -- this is where  we really need one of their deals!

Time It Right

While most of the country is still cold, when temperatures soar, as they inevitably will in most places along with the price of gas, it's best to fill your car up with gas during the coolest parts of the day -- early morning or late evening. You get more gas for your money that way ... or so some think. It can't hurt to try I guess. Also, prices are typically highest on weekends and lowest on Wednesdays.

Don't Drive

The best way to save on gas is, of course, to not use any. Look into carpooling and public transportation methods in your area. Sites like ERideShare.com or CarPoolConnect.com can help.

What is gas going for in your area? Any tips to share for saving at the pump?


Image via Natalie Maynor/Flickr

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