Have you been to the gas station lately? Of course you have. They’ve been relatively higher lately but we’re finally starting to see them fall… or are we?
We’re officially on the summer blend, which was one cause for prices temporarily going up but other factors like OPEC of course come into play, as always.
Ways to Save Money on Gas
Here are some ways to save money on gas in the Madison, WI area.
1. Take Fewer Trips
Instead of running out here and there, try to combine trips. Picking up what you need from a store can maybe be combined with another trip you have to do later or tomorrow. Maybe you can wait one more day before going to the grocery store.
2. Share Rides
Instead of separate cars, maybe everyone can ride together. There are several online ride share boards and groups available if you’re looking to share a ride with anyone… even a stranger (hey, make a new friend!):
- Wisconsin’s Ride Share Program (wisconsindot.gov)
- University of Wisconsin-Madison Ride Share Group (facebook.com)
- Madison Ride Share (craigslist.com)
- Carpool Madison (carpoolworld.com)
3. Don’t Use Your Car
It’s nice and warm out now (for the most part), so leave your car at home and ride a bike or take a bus. Riding your bike will give you some good exercise, too.
4. Use Fuel Rewards Programs
There are a few fuel rewards programs in our area. Both HyVee and Pick ‘N Save (Metro Market) have them. BP also has their own rewards program that’s free to join. With these programs, you can consistently save $0.10 or even up to $1.00 per gallon on gas.
5. Buy an Electric Car or Hybrid
Maybe it’s time to trade in or sell your gas guzzler in and get a vehicle that gets better miles per gallon.
My hybrid Honda gets from 35 to 45 MPG and that really makes a difference. The previous vehicle I had was a BMW and it got about half of that (6-cylinder engine) and it required silver gasoline. The Honda takes regular unleaded and gets way better mileage, so I’m paying about half of what I used to.
6. Use Apps or GPS
Many GPS smartphone apps like Waze get you to your destination with the shortest route possible and they take live traffic into account. Many of these apps use a form of crowdsourcing to make this happen.
Basically, the more people using the app, the better. Each person using the app is anonymously tracked by the app so they can see how vehicles are moving in real time. If the Beltline has a crash and the people on the other side can’t help but look at what’s going on since they’ve waited to long to see the crash, then these apps know where traffic is slow and they guide you elsewhere.
The main problem with traffic in Madison is that we have a bunch of lakes in the middle of the city, so there are a limited amount of ways to get somewhere but these apps can help get you there faster, saving you money on gas.
Most phones come with a GPS app and more and more of them are supporting this feature. The Waze app has even partnered with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to share data, helping people get around easier.
Another kind of app is the kind like Automatic that plugs into your vehicle’s computer port and connects with your phone. They get real-time vehicle data and can send you audible signals when you accelerate too quickly or stop too quickly. It helps train you to drive better and save money on fuel. Several insurance companies use this same technology to report drivers’ habits to get them lower rates on insurance.
And Why Just Save Money on Gas?
The bottom line is, money is money. If you save it on gas, groceries, coffee, or video games, it’s the same thing. Saving $4 on gas is the same as saving $4 on groceries. Don’t just look at ways to save on gas but save money in general. Use coupons. Shop at stores that have lower prices. Be more thrifty. Buy second-hand clothes. There are many ways to save money all around.
Got Any More Tips?
I’ve covered a few, good ways to save money on gas in the Madison, WI area but I’m sure I missed a few. If you have some, please leave them in the comments below. Together, we can all use less fuel and save money.