how to save money on gas

This is a post from simply Frugal reader Stephanie with some great, practical tips that I hope you’ll enjoy! 

After my spouse lost his job, we started looking for ways to save money wherever possible. We live in the Greater Vancouver area where gas prices are always quite high (currently they are in the range of $138.9 to $145.9 cents/litre). I commute 70km per day and our weekly gas fill-up usually costs between $50-55. I need my car for my job so driving to work is a non-negotiable, plus taking public transit to my office is actually more expensive than driving.

Many people I know live close enough to the U.S. border (and have Nexus) so they typically drive into Washington to fill up, but this doesn’t work for our lifestyle. So, here are my favourite tips on how to save money on gas (while staying in Canada):

1. NEVER fill up your tank during your morning commute- gas usually costs an extra $0.05/L during this time. Always wait to fill it up in the evening, either on your way home from work or later at night. I’ve had good luck on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings with finding the lowest gas prices. GasBuddy is usually quite accurate in reflecting the correct prices at the stations near me. If it’s a fill-up day, I always check GasBuddy before leaving work. This practice saves us anywhere between $1.25-$1.75 per fill-up, which may not sound like much on a weekly basis, but in the long-term it adds up to $65-90 per year.

2. GasBuddy can also calculate the most fuel-efficient route for your commute, based on the make/model/year of your car. Plug in a few options for your daily commute and calculate the true cost of the drive (factoring in tolls, the likeliness of idling/being stuck in traffic, and the “life value” of the time you save by taking the most efficient route home- this is way more important than saving a few cents on gas!)

3. Certain loyalty rewards points can be exchanged for gift cards for gas stations. In the past I have used Aeroplan miles and RBC Rewards points to purchase Esso gift cards, and there are lots of other options out there- check to see what you can redeem for with your rewards points (Esso seems to be the major gas retailer participating in these types of programs). Make sure you know what your rewards program gets you- certain credit cards give you double or triple points at gas stations. In addition to your credit card points, the gas station’s own loyalty rewards points (Esso Extra, Petro-Points, etc.) can also be redeemed for gift cards or for fuel savings rewards.

4. Keep an eye out for gas promotions. For example, Kellogg’s is currently running their “Cash for Gas” promo on selected products when you send in proof of purchase from either 2 cereal boxes or 4 snack products. We are big cereal eaters in our household, so this is a good deal for us as we would be buying these products anyways. For extra savings, try and match up with the deals you see on Simply Frugal (ex. Nutri-Grain bars for $1.88 at Walmart).

And of course, always practice safe driving techniques- don’t speed, keep your tires inflated to the correct pressure, gear up, and don’t carry unnecessary weight (roof racks, cargo, etc.). Not only do these promote safe driving, they also maximize your car’s fuel efficiency.

Hopefully you find some of these tips helpful!

Thanks so much Stephanie!  Loved your tips!

Do you have a money saving tip that you think will benefit others?  Send me an email with your tips, here!