Top 5 ways to save on gas
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Road trips and outdoor adventures have been and continue to be a staple for my family in 2020. When driving thousands of miles, now in a diesel truck, my habits of never paying full price on gas continue to save me big.
There’s been a quiet explosion of gas station and third-party loyalty programs over the last few years designed to save you on gas. It’s possible to use one or multiple of these programs to save big on your next fill-up. I’ll run through my five favorite programs and then cover a few stacking opportunities to use two or more of these programs on a fill up — even making it possible to turn a profit on your next trip to the gas station.
A third party loyalty program specifically for Shell gas stations, Fuel Rewards has been my most lucrative way to save on gas. Once you get to know the program and tailor a few shopping patterns, it’s not too hard to build enough fuel rewards (earned in cents off per gallon) to make your next trip to the pump more affordable.
I’ve just crossed the $1,800 in total savings mark from the program starting in 2018:
Sign up for instant gold status which gets you 5 cents off/gallon on your first fill up. This stacks with any additional Fuel Rewards you earn — all the way up to making gas nearly free.
Fuel Rewards has dozens of national partners where you can use a linked credit card to shop and earn cents off per gallon on your next fill up. There is also a dining rewards program, shopping portal and plenty of promo offers (like T-Mobile Tuesdays) to earn Fuel Rewards.
Shop through the online portal and earn 10 cents per gallon savings. Link your Dunkin’ Donuts rewards account and earn additional 10 cents per gallon savings. Eat at your favorite local restaurant in the dining rewards program and earn 10 cents per gallon.
With those savings, in addition to having Gold status, your next fill-up without even trying will be 35 cents off per gallon. All Fuel Rewards fill ups are capped at 20 gallons and once you start pumping, your savings are used, whether you pump one gallon or 20.
This third-party app that hit the scene a couple years ago has expanded significantly and now includes restaurants and grocery store savings as well as saving at the pump. You claim offers in the app to save a certain number of cents per gallon.
After you claim an offer, you have four hours to fill up at the specific station you selected using a linked credit card. Cash back earned from the fill up will then be placed in your Get Upside account and you can cash out whenever you like. I like Get Upside because fill ups with savings are good for up to 50 gallons. My wife and I both wait until our cars are empty and then fill up on the same pump simultaneously. (Remember not to put the handle back on the pump between cars or that will end your fill up and your savings).
The app has a pretty aggressive referral program where you earn cash back not only on your referrals, but on the referrals of your referrals as well. Sign up (my link) to get 20 cents off per gallon on your first fill up.
This app allows you to scan in a receipt from almost any gas station and earn 0.5-1% cash back on whatever you pumped. You can then redeem your earned credit at any gas station that is in the TruNow network. To be transparent, this app has been pretty hit or miss with many stations listed as “in network,” routinely saying their app is down.
When it does work however, you can redeem TruNow for anything at the participating gas station, including snacks and drinks inside the convenience store. I’ve used my credit for free beer instead of free gas at the local station near my home.
The Pay with Gas Buddy program continues to rapidly evolve and get better. Whereas I used to earn Shop your Way points with the program, it now offers several levels of cash savings per fill up (some with paid levels). It has recently introduced deals you can claim at specific gas stations right before you fill up as well as a “gas back” shopping portal in the GasBuddy app.
Payment occurs with a physical card GasBuddy mails you that is connected to your checking account. You pay with it at the pump and then the amount you pumped, minus any Gas Buddy savings, is deducted from your checking account.
There are Pay with GasBuddy premium memberships that allow you to save more per gallon as well as have additional perks like roadside assistance.
Grocery store fuel points
By now, I believe almost every nationwide grocery store has its own fuel points program or has partnered with an existing national gas station brand’s program to offer fuel savings for your grocery shopping.
I use Kroger here in the South and between regular family grocery shopping and taking advantage of 4X fuel points on gift cards, it’s pretty easy to max out the $1/gallon savings the program allows. You can even buy third-party gift cards from the Kroger gift card specific website. It regularly has gift cards for sale at a discount or with 4X fuel points earnings.
You can stack two or more of the above programs on a single fill-up to compound savings and make gas particularly cheap. Here are a few of my strategies I’ll share:
Fuel Rewards + Pay with GasBuddy: The two programs operate independently of each other allowing you to lower the price at the pump with Fuel Rewards. You’ll then have less cash than you pump deducted from your checking account when paying at a Shell station with your GasBuddy card. If you earn enough Fuel Rewards to make a fill up basically free, GasBuddy still gives you the savings based on the pre-discounted price of the Shell gas — meaning you can make a profit filling up your tank with gas.
Kroger + Pay with GasBuddy: The same principal as above applies when filling up for a discount using Kroger Fuel Points and then paying with your Gas Buddy card.
GetUpside + TruNow: You can claim an offer with GetUpside, fill up at a discount and then submit the receipt to the TruNow app for an additional 1% savings (sometimes more) with TruNow. You will also earn the credit card rewards for whichever credit card you used to pay at the station.
There are other programs to use specific to every nationwide gas station chain. They each typically have limited-time savings or a sign-up bonus. In addition to the above programs, this means there is basically no reason to ever pay full price for gas no matter where you are. If not using Pay with GasBuddy, make sure to use a credit card that earns great rewards at the pump and you’ll compound your savings even more.
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