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How to Save Money on Gas This Summer

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Between the looming threat of pipelines closures and a higher-than-average inflation, gas prices seem to be moving in only one direction this summer: up. 

For those trying to save money, that can be frustrating. Gas is one of those essential expenses you have very little control over. After all, you can’t barter gas prices down or look for it at a discount (if you do find it at a discount, don’t buy it).

But, truthfully, with the right habits, you don’t have to let gas bust your budget. Here are three big ways you could save on gas this summer.

1. Learn gas-efficient driving techniques

You might not be able to control gas prices. But you can definitely control how you drive, which can be just as effective. Learning gas-efficient driving techniques will stop you from wasting gas as well as filling up so frequently.

For one, avoid high speeds and frequent accelerating. The most fuel-efficient speeds are between 50 and 80 km per hour, with speeds above 80 km using increasingly more fuel. A car that goes 120 km, for instance, uses 20% more fuel than a car that goes 100 km.

Likewise, avoid unnecessary idling, as idling is extremely fuel adverse. If you’re waiting for someone, or if you’re stuck in traffic, roll the windows down and turn off your car.

Check to be sure your tires are properly inflated and remove unnecessary weight from your car (such as unused bike and luggage racks). And, of course, be sure you’re properly maintaining your car, changing its oil and taking it in for tune-ups.

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2. Use a rewards credit card

If you’re forced to pay higher prices for gas, you might as well be earning something for it, right?

Many rewards credit cards will give you extra money back when you use your card to buy fuel. With these kinds of fuel-focused cards, you could earn as much as 5% cash back on all gas transactions, sometimes even more. If your card gives you 5% cash back, you’d earn $5 for every $100 you spend.

Another tip — combine your rewards card with a gas membership for extra savings. Many popular gas companies, such as Esso, Shell, Petro Canada, and even Cost Co, have loyalty programs that are free to use and allow you to earn points for every transaction. Most of the time, you can redeem these points for lower gas prices or in-store purchases, such as food, drinks, or car washes.

3. Stop driving

Finally, perhaps the best way to save on gas is to reduce how much you drive. Invest in a bicycle or consider using public transportation. Carpool with your colleagues or use an app, like Poparide, to find people who are going in the same direction as you.

Save on gas this summer

Sure, you could try to time your fill-ups with falling gas prices, or you could use apps to find the lowest gas prices near you. But with these three tips, you can potentially save as much as any price drop, and you’ll create some long-term, healthy habits in the process.

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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

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