Chances are, filling your gas tank has become a frustrating and expensive experience as you watch the counter flip past $40, then $50, or more. With the national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline well over $4 and expected to go higher, Americans will likely be paying more for gas in the foreseeable future. So, it pays to do some planning to help reduce the impact of rising gas prices on your budget.

Here are 10 ways to help you save at the gas pump.

1. Look for the lowest gas prices near you

The price of gas can vary by as much as 10 to 15 cents from town to town or even across town. Apps like Gas Buddy, Gas Guru, Waze, and AAA can help you find the lowest gas prices wherever you are.

2. Fill up at wholesale club stations

Wholesale club stores like Sam’s Club and BJ’s, and some Walmart locations, offer discounts on gas. Typically, you need to be a member to receive the savings.

3. Use cash instead of a card

Some gas stations charge a lower price per gallon if you pay with cash rather than a credit card. This helps station owners avoid a card processing fee.

4. Look for deals or cash back from credit cards

If you prefer to pay with a card, choose a credit card that lets you earn reward points or one that offers cash back when you buy gas. Be sure to pay the fuel charges off in full each month so you’re not paying interest on your gas purchases.

5. Sign up for a fuel reward program

Many gas station chains, convenience stores and supermarkets offer fuel rewards programs to encourage you to become a loyal customer. The rules, savings and spending requirements will differ with each program, so read the details closely.

6. Fill your tank with regular, not premium

For most cars, filling up on premium doesn’t improve your fuel economy and just costs you more money. Premium gas can cost about 20 to 40 cents per gallon more than regular-grade fuel.

7. Best time of day and week to buy gas

Gas prices can fluctuate throughout the week. According to GasBuddy, filling up at the beginning or the end of the week – Monday or Friday, is the best way to save money at the pump. Here in Maine, GasBuddy found Friday to be the best day to buy gas and Thursday to be the worst day.

8. Save on gas with better driving habits

How you drive has a lot to do with gas consumption. A heavy foot can cost you at the gas pump. By accelerating gradually, slowing down on the highway, and avoiding hard or aggressive breaking, you can improve fuel efficiency. Using cruise control and reducing the use of the heater or air conditioner can also help bolster fuel economy.

9. Keep up with vehicle maintenance

Routine maintenance on your car or truck can help improve fuel efficiency. Make sure your tires are inflated properly. Underinflated tires can lower your gas mileage and cause you to lose about 2 cents per gallon. Check your gas cap. A bad seal or missing cap can allow gas to evaporate from your tank. Lighten your car. The less you have weighing down your vehicle, the better gas milage you get. And remove bike or ski racks. These racks add extra weight and resistance, which can reduce gas mileage.

10. Drive less

Think about what you need to do before heading out in the car. Take time to plan ahead. Combine errands to avoid extra trips. Think about carpooling to work or school with a friend, partner, or coworkers. When possible, avoid rush hour and anticipate road conditions. Reduce idling. Shutting off your engine if you will be stopped for more than a minute will save on gas. Instead of hopping in the car to drive the kids to school or soccer practice, send them off on their bikes. You can save on gas, and they get some extra exercise. And consider taking public transportation and leave the car at home.

Reach out to Town & Country anytime to talk about how to get the most from your money. You can connect with us at info@tcfcu.com or 800.649.3495 to schedule time to talk with one of our Member Service Representatives.

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