The Associated Press reports a typical U.S. household spent $4,155 on gas in 2011—the biggest budget bite in 30 years.
Gas prices may have dropped precipitously in the last few months—down an average of 12 percent at present since last September—but they're still hovering up there amidst the heavenly orbs. We can either hope Mars has plenty of "Texas tea" or start listening to consumer advice on how to save at the gas pump. Read on for eight such tips.
1. Discounts make cents.
Take advantage of grocery store club memberships that offer fuel discounts.Not only will you save a little on each purchase, you can find priceless satisfaction in sticking it to the oil tycoons, one dime at a time.
2. Make friends with your SmartPhone.
Though money doesn't grow on trees, gas stations seem to and prices seem to vary among the many options. So how to find the best deal? Enter Gas Buddy, your friendly mobile fuel-price finder. Input your zip code to find the name and location of a nearby station with the cheapest gas. Thanks, buddy!
3. Use public transportation.
If the idea of clutching the overhead rail on a public bus makes you dry heave, pop a Dramamine and shake it off. The money you'll save in gas by busing it even a couple times a week will give you plenty of extra cash to stock up on hand sanitizer.
4. Get rewarded for your fuel use.
Most credit cards offer frequent flyer miles, but if you drive more than you fly, these perks aren't as rewarding. CHASE Freedom offers 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 spent at gas stations from Jan. 1 through Mar. 31 annually, and 1 percent cash back for the remainder of the year.
5. Buy discount gift cards.
Sites like GiftCardGranny.com sell gas gift cards for less than face value, which means you can save up to 10 percent off your annual fuel bill.
6. Take a swim in your vehicle.
Perhaps you've avoided carpooling because none of your coworkers take the same route. Consider some online help with CarpoolWorld.com, where you can post routes, ride requirements, and even specify a non-smoking preference.
7. Lay off the lead foot.
Speeds exceeding 60 mph forces your vehicle to overcome stronger wind resistance and burns fuel faster. So ease up off that gas pedal, and also be sure tires are properly inflated for optimal fuel efficiency.
Photo credit: futureatlas.com/blog/.
Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. As a nationally recognized media source, Andrea has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC's Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more.