Search This Blog

Back on the Coast

Back on the Coast

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Fuel Economy Part Two: Gas Purchasing

There are ways to save money when purchasing gas, as in where, when and how you do it. Just like purchasing any item, you can save some money if you comparison shop, buy at particular times, use promotional cards or deals, etc. Although the amount of money saved isn't as great as you could with other various purchases (ie. food, clothing), any money saved is a good thing.

1/Price Cycle - Have you ever noticed that gas prices seem to rise and fall on a weekly basis. If you have, that's because they probably do in your area. During the winter ski season and the summer tourist season, gas prices quite often rise slightly on late Thursday or Friday and fall back to their original price on late Monday or Tuesday morning. The same thing happens around long or holiday weekends. That's because the gas outlets know you need to fill up to travel long distances, and take full advantage of your predicament. So, watch your local gas pumps, and if this is the case, fill up during the mid week.

2/ Daily cycle - Gas is measured and sold to you by volumetric quantity (gallons by volume). If you buy your gas when it is cooler, during the later evening, night or early morning, you will be actually getting more bang for your buck. You will actually be buying more volume of gas for the same money, then if you had bought during the warmer part of the day, due to temperature related expansion.

3/ Varying prices due to location - Generally, gas price wars seem to be a thing of the past. But it always occurs that there are certain areas of large cities, or specific towns/cities in a region, where gas is cheaper than the regional or city average. If it is practical, say you don't have to drive far out of your way, or these areas are along the way, take advantage of the lower pricing. is one of several web sites, where you can locate these areas by internet search.

There used to be quite a variance between so-called pay less or bargain gas outlets and the major brands, but I've never liked to purchase gas from these cheaper places. I've bought a tank of bad gas from one, and I tend to stay away from them.

4/ Cash Back Credit Cards - There are several credit cards which give you money back on gas (and other) purchases. One example is the 'Discover Gas Card', which gives you 5% back on gas purchases. Visa has one for cash back on purchases at BP locations, and so on. You'll have to do an internet search on them, and compare all the costs, and features/advantages of particular cards. There are many parameters to consider and compare, so read about all the information carefully. Also, like any credit card, to save money by using them, you must pay off your purchases before interest is accrued!

5/ Big Box Store Gas Clubs - Some big box stores, like the SuperStore in Canada, have gas pumps available as part of their retail product line. So, they quite have a promotional deal where you can join their gas club and purchase gas for a discount. It usually involves that you also purchase something in their store, and you may have a club membership fee. I don't like the idea of tying my gas purchases to anything else, but it may work for you. Again, you have to 'crunch' the numbers and consider the whole deal.

6/ Co-operative Organization - In the region where I will be moving soon, there is a gas and food co-operative store chain. You buy a one-time membership (for $27), which gives you one share in the co-op. Although, they have some food outlets, when you buy gas or home heating fuel from them, they give you an annual rebate. In 2006, the rebate on gasoline was 4.5 cents per litre. Last year, the rebate for gas was 6.0 cents per litre. On a year where I purchase $3,000 worth of gas, I would realize a savings of around $160. Now, if I could purchase the gas with a cash back credit card, and combine the savings for maybe a overall 10% percent savings, that could add up to $300 or more per year saved.

So, take advantage of these ideas, facts and promotional concepts to help you save some money on your gas purchases. Although by themselves you don't save a lot, when you consider the overall savings of comparative shopping (either gas or your vehicle), good vehicular maintenance and driving techniques, you can realize quite a decent savings in your operational costs over the year. Every little bit counts; it adds up to a sizable amount when you consider the price of gas these days.

Next MPG article: Driving Technique