How to use GasBuddy to get ahead of summer's fuel price surge
Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.
For the last couple of months, gas prices have been at a steady high. Although fuel prices have stabilized in certain parts of the country, the national average is still far from what it used to be — making commutes and road trips more expensive.
Thankfully, you can save money on gas by enrolling in loyalty programs offered by major gas companies. Generally, your discount is calculated per gallon pumped. That said, frequent drivers have to manage accounts with each gas company and remember to enter a loyalty number at the pump.
That’s where GasBuddy comes in.
GasBuddy is a service that shows where to find the cheapest gas near you. Even better, the program’s Pay with GasBuddy feature can save you up to 40 cents per gallon when you pay with its prepaid gas card. There are no codes or other frills to deal with — just pay with your GasBuddy card.
Here, I’ll show you everything you need to know about saving money on gas with GasBuddy. I’ll start with an overview of the app and then dive into a few ways to maximize your savings.
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How to save money on gas with GasBuddy
There are a few ways you can save on gas with the GasBuddy app. Here are three of them.
1. Find the best gas prices near you
The GasBuddy app shows gas prices at all stations nearby to help you find the best deal on gas. Just download the mobile app and let it see your current location. All nearby gas stations will appear in a list at the center of the screen alongside prices. You can use the filtering options at the top of the screen to choose which fuel type you’d like to buy and how far away you’re willing to drive for gas.
There’s also a map view you can use to find gas stations near you, as well as their respective pricing.
Tap on a gas station to see its pricing for each type of gas. GasBuddy relies on crowdsourcing for pricing data, so prices may not always be accurate. However, I’ve found that most stations are updated at least once per day and you can see the last time it was updated below the price.
With a little bit of planning, you can save real money on long trips when you’re gassing up frequently. So, use GasBuddy when planning road trips to find the best deals on gas.
Related: Route 66 road trip planner: The best stops along the way
2. Using Pay with GasBuddy to save on every gallon
You can save even more using Pay with GasBuddy. When you sign up for this service, you’ll get a prepaid gas card that can be used at many gas stations around the country. This card is linked to your checking account and will pull funds to cover your purchase every time you pump gas.
You’ll save per gallon of gas you pump, and savings vary based on where you pump. Free members can save up to 25 cents per gallon, like in the screenshot above.
You can save up to 40 cents per gallon when you enroll in GasBuddy Premium. This service costs $9.99 per month and guarantees that you save at least 20 cents per gallon (up to 50 gallons per month). Furthermore, you have access to 24-hour roadside assistance from Allstate and exclusive GasBack offers (more on that soon).
Register for Pay with GasBuddy on the app or GasBuddy’s website. Create an account and apply for the card, and it should come in the mail in a week or so. You’re required to provide information like your address, date of birth and full name. You'll also need to link a bank account.
To find participating gas stations and see how much you’ll save with Pay with GasBuddy, open the app and scroll through the list of gas stations. You’ll see “Deal Alerts” in red above stations that support Pay with GasBuddy and offer a discount. The discount is listed next to the label as you can see in the case of the 76 station in the first screenshot.
To activate the discount, tap on the station’s name and tap the "Activate Discount" button at the bottom of the screen (as shown in the second screenshot).
When you get to the station, swipe your GasBuddy card. Your checking account will be charged for your gas purchase minus the discount reflected in the app.
Related: Hitting the road? These are the 3 best cards for fueling up right now
3. Earn more savings with GasBack
You can also save on gas by earning GasBack in the GasBuddy app. In short, GasBack is the company’s shopping portal that awards you gas credit when you shop with participating merchants. Each merchant awards a different percentage of GasBack based on the total cost of your purchase. For example, Old Navy awards 3% GasBack on purchases. You can redeem GasBack toward gas purchases made with Pay with GasBuddy.
To earn rewards, open the GasBuddy app before making a purchase online and go to the Savings tab. Then, search for your merchant and tap on it. Tap the Shop Now button at the bottom of the screen and make your online purchase as usual. GasBack will appear in your account after the merchant confirms the purchase.
Always cross-compare GasBack earnings with the cash back or points you’d earn with a different shopping portal. For example, it may make sense to earn with Rakuten if it’s offering more cash back (or American Express Membership Rewards points) than the GasBack portal. You can compare shopping portal earnings rates with an aggregator like Cash Back Monitor.
Related: The beginner’s guide to airline shopping portals
Maximizing Pay with Gasbuddy
The savings don’t stop there, though. There are a few ways you can maximize your GasBuddy savings by stacking with other rewards programs or by subscribing to GasBuddy Premium. Let’s take a closer look.
Earn Shop Your Way rewards points
One easy way to maximize your GasBuddy savings is earning Shop Your Way points with Pay with GasBuddy. You’ll no longer get instant savings at the pump. Instead, you'll earn a set number of Shop Your Way points every time you fuel up. These can be redeemed for discounts on merchandise at Sears and Kmart or for gift cards at select merchants like American Airlines and Hotels.com.
You’ll earn Shop Your Way points at the following rates:
- $0.30 per gallon in points for paid fill-ups for the first 60 days after pairing your account with Shop Your Way, equal to 30 points per gallon.
- $0.15 per gallon in points for every paid fill-up thereafter, equal to 15 points per gallon.
Since the amount you’ll save with instant savings is variable, you could come out ahead by earning at a flat rate of 15 points per gallon with GasBuddy. This effectively locks in a 15 cents per gallon savings rate that you can use toward gift cards at a merchant of your choice.
Check out our full guide to earning Shop Your Way points with GasBuddy for an in-depth analysis of this partnership.
Enroll in GasBuddy Premium if you drive a lot
If you have a long commute or are about to embark on a long road trip, you may want to enroll in GasBuddy Premium. As discussed, this subscription service costs $9.99 per month but lets you get up to 40 cents off per gallon. It also guarantees a minimum of 20 cents per gallon in savings at all gas stations that support Pay with GasBuddy.
It may be worth enrolling in the program if you know you’re going to drive a lot in a given month. Do the math beforehand to ensure you get enough value from the program to offset the monthly cost. The program also has other perks like roadside assistance and exclusive GasBack offers.
Stack with gas loyalty programs
One nice thing about Pay with GasBuddy is that you can stack it with other fuel rewards programs. For example, you can still enter your Shell FuelRewards number at the pump when you use your Pay with GasBuddy account. FuelRewards Gold members earn 5 cents per gallon at Shell stations, meaning GasBuddy Premium members can theoretically save 45 cents per gallon at some gas stations.
Related: Here are the top 5 ways to save on gas this summer
Is it worth using Pay with GasBuddy over a credit card?
One downside to Pay with GasBuddy is that you won’t earn credit card points at the pump. This is because — like a debit card — your checking account is debited the amount of your gas purchase. Depending on the cards you have in your wallet, it can make sense to use GasBuddy despite not earning points, especially if you’re earning Shop Your Way points.
As of writing this article, the AAA national average gas price is $4.14 per gallon. If you pump 5 gallons of gas and pay $20.70, you’ll earn 100 Shop Your Way points (equal to $1.00 toward gift cards). This is essentially a 5% return on your purchase when you redeem points for gift cards. Alternatively, if the station offers 10 cents off per gallon, you’d earn $0.50 in instant savings.
Alternatively, you can put the $20.70 purchase on a Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi. This card earns 4% back at U.S. gas stations up to $7,000 per year. You’d earn roughly $0.82 in cash back on this purchase, which is less than GasBuddy.
Or, you can put the purchase on a Citi Premier® Card since this card earns three ThankYou points per dollar spent at gas stations. TPG values these points at 1.8 cents apiece, giving you $1.08 worth of points. Of course, you can make these points worth more depending on how you redeem them. In this case, I’d rather put the charge on my Citi card since I plan on redeeming Citi ThankYou points this summer.
I keep my Pay with GasBuddy and Citi Premier card in my wallet and quickly do the math to see which offers the best deal. If gas is cheap and Pay with GasBuddy offers 6 cents or more per gallon, I’ll swipe my GasBuddy card at the pump. Otherwise, I’ll charge more expensive gas purchases to my Citi Premier as this presents a higher 5.1% return with the three times the earning rate.
Related: Best credit cards for gas purchases
GasBuddy can be a great way to save on gas this summer. Download it and request a Pay with GasBuddy card before your next big road trip, and don’t forget to stack it with other fuel rewards programs. After all, every bit of savings counts during a gas shortage when prices are high.
Additional reporting by Kyle Olsen.
Feature photo by Everyonephoto Studio/Shutterstock.com.