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Reduce the Pain at the Pump With These 20 Ways to Save Money on Gas

Filling up the gas tank can be a thoroughly miserable experience as you watch the counter flip past $ 40, then $ 50, and keep on going.

But you can save money on gas based on where you fill up, how you pay, when you visit the gas station, how you drive and even the condition of your car.

We’ve compiled 20 smart tips to help you spend less on fuel that could save you hundreds of dollars over the course of a year.

How to Save Money on Gas at the Pump

The biggest savings will be evident in the price you pay at the gas station. So it’s worth shopping around and employing a bit of strategy before filling up.

1. Use Apps to Find the Cheapest Gas

You don’t want to buy gas at one place and then come across a station with cheaper fuel just down the street. Several websites and apps tell you the price of gasoline at the stations in your area. GasBuddy and Waze are two popular options.

Look for the cheapest gas stations along any of the routes you normally drive for work or shopping. Don’t wait until your tank is near empty and be forced to buy gas wherever is closest.

The price of gas can vary significantly across state lines, so if you’re planning a trip, check where prices are lower throughout your route. Avoid getting gas at stations just off a highway exit or in the middle of a major city, as stations in those locations tend to charge more than ones a little more out of the way.

2. Skip the Premium Option

Higher-octane gas isn’t necessary or beneficial in most cars, so you’re just spending more money when you buy premium. Premium gas can cost about 20 cents per gallon more than regular-grade fuel. Use regular-grade gasoline unless your car’s manufacturer specifically requires premium.

3. Join a Fuel Rewards Program

Many gas station chains and grocery stores across the country offer fuel rewards programs to try to turn you into a loyal customer. Each gas station fuel rewards program and grocery store fuel rewards program has its own set of rules on how much you can save and what you have to spend in order to get the rewards, so read up on the details.

GasBuddy also offers its own fuel savings program called Pay with GasBuddy. You can save 5 cents per gallon by signing up for free, or you can save 20 cents per gallon by signing up for one of its paid versions. (Note: Exxon Mobil, BJs, Costco, Sam’s Club, H-E-B, select Walmart stations, select Arco stations and some small, local gas stations don’t accept the Pay with GasBuddy card.)

4. Use a Rewards Credit Card

A woman owns a Capital One Ventures rewards credit card

When you go to fuel up, choose a credit card that pays you cash back or one where you can earn rewards points when you purchase gasoline. Just be sure you know what you’re getting into before opening a rewards credit card. Pay the fuel charges off in full each month so you’re not paying interest on your gas purchases.

5. Use Cash Instead of a Card

Some gas stations charge a lower price per gallon if you pay with cash rather than a card. It’s their way of avoiding card processing fees. While some stations will let you pay the cash price if you use a debit card, others won’t. Check with the gas station before you swipe your card, or simply use cash when it’s time to fill up.

6. Use Free or Discounted Gift Cards

You can earn gift cards or cash from survey sites like Swagbucks or Survey Junkie. You can also purchase discounted gift cards from sites like Raise or Gift Card Granny.

7. Fill Up Early in the Week

According to a 2018 GasBuddy gas price analysis, gas prices tend to be the lowest on Mondays. Sundays and Tuesdays are other good days to buy cheap gas. Avoid filling your tank on Thursdays or Fridays when gas prices tend to be the most expensive.

How to Save Money on Gas With Better Driving Habits

How frequently you drive and how you operate your vehicle both play a role in how much you spend on gas.

8. Share Rides

If you live near your co-workers and have similar schedules, take turns driving so you can all drive less each week. Organize a carpool with neighbors or friends to transport your children to school or extracurricular activities, and swap driving duties among the parents. Less time on the road means less gas used and more money saved.

9. Plan Routes

Plan your shopping trips and other outings in efficient ways to reduce your drive time. If the grocery store is near your job, do your shopping after work rather than waiting until the weekend. Do your errands all in one day rather than making several trips on different days.

Cutting a few miles several times weekly can add up to hundreds of miles saved annually. That could save a fill-up or two.

10. Reduce Your Idle Time

Don’t start the car and then leave it running for a long time while you wait for everyone to get in or to fiddle with your navigation. Make sure you’re ready to go before starting your engine. Idling just wastes gas and causes more air pollution.

11. Accelerate Slowly and Coast More

Be gradual when you’re speeding up or slowing down. Generally, the faster you accelerate, the more gas you use. Be gentle on that pedal when getting up to highway speed. You’ll also get better mileage by coasting more, so plan ahead for stops and turns. Take your foot off the gas a bit sooner, and slowly glide to a stop. This actually works.

12. Use Cruise Control — Sometimes

When it’s hilly you might get better mileage without cruise control, because the system will tend to downshift too much and waste gas. But otherwise, cruise! Staying at a steady speed with cruise control has been shown to save on fuel usage — plus you can make sure you don’t go over the speed limit.

13. Reduce the Use of Your Heater and Air Conditioning

Blasting the heat in the winter or the A/C in the summer has an effect on your fuel economy, so keep that in mind.

There a long-running but still inconclusive debate about whether using air conditioning or rolling down the windows contributes more to increased fuel consumption — as the wind resistance from open windows creates drag on your vehicle.

When driving low speeds you may want to cool down by lowering your car windows. But if you’re driving on the highway (or even driving above 30 miles per hour), you might be better off with the air conditioner on and the windows up.

14. Slow Down

Following the speed limit or driving just under it can pay off in more ways than you might think. The faster you drive, the more wind resistance you face, which reduces your fuel economy.

How Your Car Affects How Much You Spend on Gas

A person pumps gas in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The condition of your car makes a difference in gas consumption. Learn how to keep your ride in money-saving shape.

15. Check Tire Pressure

Having underinflated tires can lower your gas mileage and cause you to lose about 2 cents per gallon, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. To find the proper tire pressure for your car, check your owner’s manual or the sticker in the driver’s side door jamb or in the glove box.

16. Check Your Gas Cap

A bad seal or missing cap can allow gas to evaporate from your tank. Besides costing you money, this pollutes the air. Replace your gas cap if the rubber seal seems worn or damaged. You can buy one at an auto parts store for under $ 20.

17. Lighten Your Car

The less you have weighing down your vehicle, the better gas mileage it gets. Look at what you’ve got in your car and remove anything you don’t need. No, this does not mean your mother-in-law. But that neglected sports equipment in your trunk can go.

18. Remove Racks

If you don’t use that bicycle rack, remove it. Take off that ski rack while you’re at it. Racks are extra weight and create more wind resistance — both of which reduce gas mileage.

19. Use the Right Oil During Oil Changes

Using the wrong grade of motor oil can cost you 3 to 5 cents per gallon, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Be sure to use your manufacturer’s recommended grade of oil, and look for motor oil designated as “energy saving.” AutoGuide says synthetic motor oil (which may cost two or three times more than conventional motor oil) reduces friction better and improves your gas mileage.

And while you’re getting your oil changed, make sure to check your air filters. A clogged air filter can reduce your gas mileage.

20. Buy a More Efficient Car

Making your next vehicle one that has a higher MPG (miles per gallon) rating is a sure-fire way to spend less on gasoline. Consider a hybrid car — or an electric one, if you never want to worry about buying gas again. A vehicle with a manual transmission tends to have better fuel efficiency than an automatic. Plus, driving a stick-shift is cool.

Steve Gillman is the author of “101 Weird Ways to Make Money” and creator of He’s been a repo-man, walking stick carver, search engine evaluator, house flipper, tram driver, process server, mock juror, and roulette croupier, but of more than 100 ways he has made money, writing is his favorite (so far).

Nicole Dow, a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder, contributed to updating this post.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Renters Rejoice: Here’s 8 Ways to Reduce Your Heating Bill

Before buying a house last winter, I had rented several apartments in southwestern Ohio, which gets so cold in the winter (and fall and sometimes spring) that I may as well have lived in Alaska. The problem with every single apartment I lived in was the same: It was exorbitantly expensive to heat each one in the winter due to old systems, ancient windows and poor insulation.

Luckily, the house I purchased has great new windows, excellent insulation and doors that actually close properly. And any issues that have caused inefficient heating in my home, I’ve been able to fix cheaply.

It’s much more challenging to combat these issues in apartments because, as a renter, you can’t just invest in new windows or redo the insulation. In my eight years of renting, however, I discovered a number of ways to cut back on my apartment heating bills.

Close Off Unused Rooms

If you live in a two- or three-bedroom apartment but use one of the rooms for storage, exercise or an irregularly accessed workspace, close the door and shut the vents in that room when it is not in use. Otherwise, you will unnecessarily be heating an unused space.

And if the space is so infrequently used, consider downsizing to a smaller apartment the next time your lease is up for renewal. If you stay within the same apartment complex, you often will not have to offer up new deposits.

Turn Down the Heat

An easy way to reduce your electric or heating bill in the winter is to run your heat at a lower temperature.

Obviously, you need to keep your apartment warm enough to prevent your pipes from freezing, but if you can stand the chill, keep your apartment in the low- to mid-60s. Bundle up in sweatshirts, thick socks and blankets to stay warm — and don’t forget to cover up your pets, too.

Use a Space Heater

OK, so you’ve turned the heat down, closed off unused rooms and bundled up in blankets, but you’re still feeling chilly. A small space heater might do the trick. Rather than wasting the energy to heat the whole apartment to a warmer temperature, keep a space heater in the area that you plan to spend the day or evening. Running a little bit of heat in one small area is more affordable than heating your entire living space.

Insulate Your Windows

One apartment I lived in shortly after college had a living room with one wall that was entirely windows, overlooking a quaint pond. I toured the apartment in the springtime and was immediately sold. Little did I know that these single-pane windows would be the bane of my existence just nine months later when frost began forming on the inside.

Since renters can’t control whether their landlords install replacement windows (though I spent at least an hour a week in the main office demanding that mine do so, to no avail), finding temporary ways to keep heat from leaking out is crucial.

You can do this by hanging thick curtains in front of the windows, but an even better solution (or a solution to combine with the curtains) is purchasing a window insulation film kit. If it is your first time installing, I recommend asking an experienced friend or family member for assistance; when incorrectly installed, your window will look like it’s been covered in shrink wrap.

Stop Eating Out

Of course, you can save money on meals by eating at home instead of dining out, but in the winter, baking and cooking can have the added benefit of reducing your heating bill.

When you cook in your oven and on the stove top, heat emanates into your kitchen and surrounding rooms. Even after turning the oven off, the remaining heat will eventually filter out to into your home.

Block Out Drafts From Your Door

The bottoms of exterior doors are a major culprit for heat loss in the winter. If you can see daylight creeping in from beneath your door or feel a cool breeze, speak to your landlord about addressing this issue.

If that becomes a dead end or it will take maintenance a few days to get over, temporarily improve the situation by rolling up a towel and blocking the bottom of the door. The solution isn’t perfect, but it will prevent some heat loss for the time being.

Weatherstrip Like Crazy

Weatherstripping for doors and windows is key to retaining heat in the winter (and keeping it out in the summer). If your windows and doors are letting too much heat out, ask your landlord to replace the weatherstripping.

Unfortunately, not all landlords are created equal. If you encounter a landlord who dodges your requests, tell them in writing that you will be replacing the weatherstripping yourself. (Do not make it a question.) It’s a minor cost and will save you big-time on heating bills.

Leave a Review

If you are stuck in a lease at an apartment community that does not take your maintenance concerns seriously, remember that online reviews are your friend. Leave reviews on Google, social media and the Better Business Bureau site if your landlord ignores or refuses your reasonable requests. I’ve had to leave reviews more than once, and conveniently, the landlords took care of the issues the very next day.

Before you know it, winter will come and go. Reduce energy consumption year-round by also reading our tips for reducing utility bills in the summer.

Timothy Moore is a market research editor and freelance writer covering topics on personal finance, careers, education, pet care and automotive. He has worked in the field since 2012 and has been featured on sites like The Penny Hoarder,, Ladders, Glassdoor and The News Wheel.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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Kaiser Permanente Helps Oakland International Airport Passengers Reduce Stress and Maintain Good Mental Health

OAKLAND, Calif. — Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest integrated health care system, has introduced some practical and whimsical ways for passengers departing Terminal 2 at the Oakland International Airport to reduce the stress of air travel and encourage them to stay healthy this busy holiday travel season and beyond. This effort is part of nonprofit Kaiser Permanente’s commitment to the total health of body, mind and spirit of the communities it serves.

Portions of the security checkpoint at OAK Terminal 2 have been transformed to depict some of the most soothing aspects of nature, including the sights and sounds of a California redwood forest, a blue sky filled with clouds, and a 1,500-square foot “living wall” filled with plants that act as natural air filters.

“Our work with the Port of Oakland is a natural extension of our mission to improve the health of the communities we serve,” said Janet Liang, president, Kaiser Permanente Northern California. “We understand people have an opportunity to experience good health habits where they live, work, play and in this case, travel. Our airport expression is another example of our commitment to creating positive environments throughout the Bay Area community Kaiser Permanente has called home for almost 75 years.”

The new features at OAK Terminal 2 include:

Living wall of plants with a sign that reads 'thrive - Kaiser Permanente'

Kaiser Permanente has installed a massive living wall at the Oakland International Airport that cleans the air naturally and helps reduce the stress of air travel for passengers.

The living wall: Taking up the entire west wall of the security checkpoint area, the wall contains 34 unique plant species, including 13 that, according to a NASA study, help clean indoor air naturally and improve the ambient environment. 

Bringing the outdoors in: Travelers are greeted by large white clouds suspended from the checkpoint and atrium ceiling. Soothing sounds of nature can be heard from speakers strategically placed near the checkpoint area. Messages on panels throughout the checkpoint encourage passengers to “breathe in,” “relax” and “thrive.”

H2O to go: Passengers will be able to refill their reusable bottles at new hydration stations, installed just past the security checkpoint. The stations dispense premium purified drinking water to help keep passengers hydrated before and during their flight.

These elements are all aimed at alleviating the anxiety, frustration and fear commonly felt by travelers, and they are part of a much broader effort by Kaiser Permanente to improve mental health and wellness in the communities it serves. This larger effort includes, but is not limited to, the Find Your Words public service campaign to de-stigmatize depression and Kaiser Permanente’s Thriving Schools Program, which includes efforts to improve the emotional and social well-being of students and staff.

“Support for emotional health and well-being is built into Kaiser Permanente’s overall approach to total health,” said Don Mordecai, MD, the national leader for mental health and wellness at Kaiser Permanente. “Our goal with transforming Terminal 2 is to help improve the travel experience for people and to help them find a bit of calm in what can often be a stressful environment.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Kaiser Permanente’s contribution to the ongoing transformation of Terminal 2 at Oakland International Airport. This uplifting introduction at the screening checkpoint positively influences the early stages of the passenger experience,” said Bryant L. Francis, Port of Oakland director of aviation. “This addition at OAK creates a more relaxing environment for outbound travelers as well as the hundreds of employees based in Terminal 2.”


About Oakland International Airport
Oakland International is the fourth busiest airport in California and second busiest in the San Francisco Bay Area. Serving over 13 million travelers annually, OAK is the closest airport to the region’s top business and tourism venues. It is also the closest airport for most local residents. Oakland’s air service roster to over 60 nonstop destinations is offered on 12 different airline brands. The vision of Oakland International Airport is to offer customers a world-class experience and be the airport of choice for Bay Area residents and visitors alike. OAK is operated by the Port of Oakland, which also oversees the Oakland seaport and 20 miles of waterfront. Together with its business partners, the Port supports more than 73,000 jobs in the region and nearly 827,000 jobs across the United States.

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 12.2 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to:


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