Summer is a time when millions of Americans take road trips or go on long weekend drives, and that means many are spending more on gas than they do at any other time during that year. But during the summer, gas prices also tend to go up, which further compounds the problem. However, experts are always quick to outline the many ways in which consumers can save as much as possible on gas to provide them with additional savings.
For one thing, there are a large number of apps – many of which are available for free – to help them save money on gas in several ways, according to a report from Detroit television station WXYZ. One of the biggest purposes of such apps is to locate the gas stations near users where prices are lowest. This is usually only going to save them a few cents per gallon, but over the course of a few fill-ups throughout the summer, that could go a long way toward saving money.
Other things to keep in mind
Meanwhile, many gas stations are starting to charge more for gas to people who insist on using their credit cards to pay for the fuel, the report said. Somewhere between 10 and 15 percent of all gas stations across the country are doing so these days, and the added cost can come to as much as 20 cents per gallon in some cases. This is done because credit card companies charge businesses of all types small fees – usually equating to as much as 5 percent of the sale's total value – for each transaction. Therefore, using a debit card (which comes with a lower, fixed transaction fee cost) or cash is likely to save consumers money at the pump as well.
Meanwhile, more gas stations are forging partnerships with big retailers or grocery stores to set up shop in their parking lots or nearby, the report said. Then, they partner with those companies' loyalty programs to give frequent shoppers discounts on gas – usually on a per-gallon basis for every given amount of dollars the person spends – which in turn can go a long way toward saving money. In addition, those directly affiliated with big retailers will typically have more affordable gas overall anyway.
What else can be done?
In addition, consumers might want to simply be smarter about the ways they use their cars, the report said. For instance, driving everywhere in the summer when some places may be within biking or walking distance may not seem like a big deal – especially if it's hot and the air conditioning feels like a must-have – but the cumulative effect of all those little trips can be significant.
Finally, consumers who are able to save a substantial amount of money over the course of the summer – potentially hundreds of dollars depending upon how much they drive – might end up being able to pay down some debt or put that money into savings. That, in turn, could significantly improve their overall financial positions.