4 easy tricks to help you save at the pump, even as gas prices rise


Recent attacks on Saudi Arabia's oil fields are causing crude oil prices to rise, and in turn gas prices are going up, too. The nationwide average price for a gallon of gas is $2.59 as of Tuesday, according to AAA. That's a 4-cent increase from Monday, and experts expect prices could go up by as much as 20 cents per gallon in the coming weeks as the Saudis work to get production facilities back online.

"We found the largest increases in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, and Minnesota," says Jeanette Casselano, gas prices expert at AAA. In parts of those states, gas prices have already increased between 5 and 10 cents per gallon.

Even as gas prices fluctuate, there are some strategies you can use to keep fill-up costs in check:

1. Reinforce good driving habits

"You hard-break, you accelerate very quickly, you speed — those are things that could cost you as much as $400 a year on fuel, just because you're driving like a maniac," says Allison Mac of GasBuddy.

Each 5 miles per hour faster you drive over 50 mph increases your gas cost by 18 cents, according to data from the EPA, so stick to the speed limit and try to avoid high speed roads. If you do frequently drive on the highway, use cruise control: That will save you an average of 7% on gas, according to testing by car review site Edmunds.

How reverse budgeting can relieve money stress

2. Map out the cheapest stations on your route

One-third of drivers buy gas when their low fuel warning light comes on, Mac says, meaning they may panic and pull into the most convenient station. This could end up costing them more money.

Ideally, use an app like AAA, GasBuddy, or Waze to figure out the best prices along routes you frequent — like your commute between work and home.

Driving just a little out of your way can help. "If you are shopping for gas and decide to go to the gas station right off the highway or at a main intersection, that's premium real estate," Mac says. "You are paying for convenience."

Head to a gas station off a smaller street where the retailer's rent is most likely lower and you can find significantly lower prices. "Even within a one-mile radius, you could be saving as much as 30 cents per gallon," she says.

You hard-break, you accelerate very quickly, you speed — those are things that could cost you as much as $400 a year on fuel.
Allison Mac

3. Keep cash and a rewards card in your wallet

Depending on where you buy your gas, either cash or credit might offer opportunities to save. Many rewards credit cards offer bonus points for gas — the Citi Premier Card and Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card both offer three times the points on gas purchases, for example.

Some gas stations may charge you more for using a credit card, though, so it's good to have the option to use cash, too.

4. Leverage your grocery spending

Some grocery stores and gas stations have reward partnerships. For example, Sunoco offers per-gallon discounts of 5-10 cents or more based on your spending at chains including Safeway, Acme, and Price Chopper. Use your supermarket loyalty card at the pump to save.

More from Grow:

acorns+cnbcacorns cnbc

Join Acorns


About Us

Learn More

Follow Us

All investments involve risk, including loss of principal. The contents presented herein are provided for general investment education and informational purposes only and do not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any specific securities or engage in any particular investment strategy. Acorns is not engaged in rendering any tax, legal, or accounting advice. Please consult with a qualified professional for this type of advice.

Any references to past performance, regarding financial markets or otherwise, do not indicate or guarantee future results. Forward-looking statements, including without limitations investment outcomes and projections, are hypothetical and educational in nature. The results of any hypothetical projections can and may differ from actual investment results had the strategies been deployed in actual securities accounts. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.

Advisory services offered by Acorns Advisers, LLC (“Acorns Advisers”), an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Brokerage and custody services are provided to clients of Acorns Advisers by Acorns Securities, LLC (“Acorns Securities”), a broker-dealer registered with the SEC and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (“SIPC”). Acorns Pay, LLC (“Acorns Pay”) manages Acorns’s demand deposit and other banking products in partnership with Lincoln Savings Bank, a bank chartered under the laws of Iowa and member FDIC. Acorns Advisers, Acorns Securities, and Acorns Pay are subsidiaries of Acorns Grow Incorporated (collectively “Acorns”). “Acorns,” the Acorns logo and “Invest the Change” are registered trademarks of Acorns Grow Incorporated. Copyright © 2021 Acorns and/or its affiliates.

NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns Grow Incorporated.