How to save on gas as prices skyrocket

Driver pumps gas into car

With gas prices on the rise, and at more than $4 a gallon in some parts of the country, drivers are all looking for ways to save cash at the pump.

Among them, Greg Rottbart, who can’t believe what it cost to just top off his gas tank.

“I just paid $44,” he said, of the half-tank of gas he put in his van.

Gasoline prices are now a full dollar a gallon higher than a year ago, due to crude oil hitting $100 a barrel in recent days. That means that 20-gallon fillup will cost an extra 20 bucks, compared with last March.

That’s why apps and programs that can help you save money on gas are probably worth trying.

Apps that find the lowest gas prices near you

Driver Crystal Hayes uses Google Maps, which as of last year now shows gas stations and prices nearby.

Look for the little gas pump icon when you go to Google Maps on your phone. On a laptop, enter the word “gas” in the search bar in the top left corner.

“Right now I have the Google app I have been using for gas prices,” Hayes said, “so whatever can help!”

College student Macy Will, meantime, checks the Gas Buddy app.

“It shows me somewhere where it is not crazy, crazy expensive.”

It’s free, and all it needs is your zip code or your phone’s location services, and it shows you the lowest price near you.

But Gas Buddy analyst Patrick De Haan suggests upgrading to their alerts.

“For motorists signed up to get our push notifications, we also send push alerts when gas prices start to spike,” he said.


Fuel rewards programs that save money

If you are not in a fuel rewards program, join one.

Shell, 7-Eleven, Speedway and Circle K, as well as major grocery chains like Kroger, Safeway, Albertson’s, Giant Eagle and Fred Meyer, now offer fuel discounts for members.

The newest cash-back program, one getting good reviews, is GetUpside.

It is a free program that gives cash rewards from gas stations, stores and restaurants.

GetUpside co-founder Wayne Lin says the free app shows you participating BP, Shell and other stations near you.

“We are probably one of the best ways to fight inflation with increases in gas prices,” Lin said. “You can save up to 25 cents a gallon every time you buy gas.”

You look on your phone for stations near you, then “claim the deal” to save 10 to 25 cents off per gallon.

The only catch is you have to scan your receipt and send the photo to get your cash back.

But these days, anything to lower those gas prices may be worth it.

That way you don’t waste your money.

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John Matarese

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