Spring is near! The sun is shining, the weather is warming and holy what the mothercakes, gas is four dollars a gallon right now?! And what mister newscaster? It's going to get more expensive? Geez! This is getting out of hand. We all would appreciate saving some money on gas. Here's how.
Fill Up at Cheaper Gas Stations
Filed in: duh. But, seriously, filling up at cheaper gas stations, no matter how minuscule the difference, saves you money in the long run. And it's not hard to find the cheap stations! Start with GasBuddy, a free app on both Android and iPhone, that maps out nearby gas stations and uses user uploaded prices to tell you where you can get the most bang for your buck. It's the most comprehensive gas price resource around, making sure to tell you when prices were updated, which is crucial given how volatile gas prices can be. But! It's good to have backup apps for gas prices, like Cheap Gas for Android and iPhone, because unfortunately there isn't an official database for an app to tap into. The more crowdsourced apps you have, the better.
Track Your Fuel Economy
If you're an overachiever with adept math skills, calculating your fuel economy isn't hard at all. Divide this into that, yadda and yadda. But who the heck wants to do math anymore? You have a smartphone! Just input the miles on your odometer and the amount of fuel you filled up in GasHog for iPhone and the app will easily figure out your miles per gallon. In fact, you'll be able to keep track of historic data and break down your fuel economy and exact cost per mile, that way you know exactly how much driving is costing you. Mileage for Android does the same thing. [GasHog $1, Mileage Free]
Make Sure That Cheap Gas Station Is Worth It
This is key because we're all guilty of driving an extra mile or two just to pump up at the gas station 2 cents cheaper than the one right next to your house. But you should ask yourself: are those 2 cents worth it? You can find out! Bankrate has a great tool that actually figures this out for you. You plug in the capacity of your gas tank, mpg and distance between two gas stations and it'll spit out which gas station is a better deal. You'll never be fooled again. [TripAlyizer $6, greenMeter $6]
Keep Your Car in Good Condition
A car that's not running right could be suckling more gas than it actually needs. That's why it's important to keep up to date with oil changes, make sure all the fluids are right and your tires still have tread on them. Car Care for iPhone is great because it keep tracks of your fuel economy and gives you service reminders through notifications. You can use it with multiple cars and peek at snazzy graphs. aCar does the same thing for Android—reminders, charts, multiple vehicles—but it's free and can even export your data to a computer. [Car Care $3, aCar Free]
Plan a Route Near Cheap Gas Stations
I don't remember the last time I used MapQuest, but the next time I take a long trip I definitely will. Why? Because MapQuest has a great feature that lets you see the gas stations near the route you'll take. You can then tweak the directions to fit in strategic filling periods which is almost like killing two birds with one stone. It's good to be prepared. [MapQuest]
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