6 Gas Savings Tips for Summer Road Trips

Posted by Fodor's Editors on June 06, 2011 at 12:05:48 PM EDT | Post a Comment
Road-trip-Gas-Savings-Monument-Valley-RV-blog.jpgWith gasoline at almost four dollars a gallon across the U.S., many travelers are rethinking their summer road trip plans. But with our six tips for gas savings, you don't have to settle for a staycation after all. Less money spent at the pump means more for the rest of your travel budget. 1. Look for travel deals with gas cards or gas rebates. Both lodging options and destinations are offering gas-oriented incentives this summer like the impressive $75 gift cards from Intercontinental Hotels Vacation Pay program. You can also search for deals on tourism sites like ExploreAsheville.com and bed and breakfasts though the B&Bs Kick Gas promotion on Better Way to Stay. To ensure the deal will work for you, be sure to read the fine print and understand whether you are getting a rebate, a pre-paid card, or a resort credit. (For other great summer travel savings, see our travel deals page.) 2. Use the web and apps to find the cheapest gas. Gas prices are greatly influenced by state gas taxes. A Web site operated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, www.fueleconomy.gov, gives national and regional average prices. More helpful are sites like Gas Buddy and Gas Price Watch, which use tips from consumers to rank the lowest and highest gas prices in a particular area. Note, though, that the information on these sites can be outdated, so it’s best to use them as a general guideline. GasBuddy also has a free smart phone app to find the best prices while on the go; GasBag is a similar app. 3. Look for clusters of gas stations when refueling. If you're driving down the interstate looking for a place to refill your gas tank, avoid the exits that have just one or two stations. You'll save money at exits with three or more stations, as competition helps drive down prices. 4. Stock up—on gas—at warehouse shopping clubs. Along with your road trip supplies, consider fueling up at Costco and Sam's Club. By far the most expensive places to buy snacks and toiletries when traveling are the convenience stores attached to roadside gas stations. These shopping clubs also usually have the cheapest gas prices around, and many are just off major interstates or along other well-traveled roads; before you hit the road, research the locations of some on your route. 5. Stretch your mpg. The way you drive greatly affects your car's gas mileage. Making sudden stops and starts, driving with the air-conditioning on or with all the windows down, using underinflated tires, and idling unnecessarily—such as while you eat at a fast-food restaurant or talk on your cell phone—waste gas and pollute the environment. 6. Fuel your rental car a few miles from the airport. Gas stations nearest airports and car-rental agencies charge the highest rates. You can save several dollars on a full tank of gas by filling up well away from the airport. But make sure you're not so far away that you'll have less than a full tank of gas when you return your vehicle. Photo Credits: Pgiam / iStockPhoto
Posted in Travel Tips Tagged: Car Travel, Savings

Member Comments (5)  Post a Comment

  • marcus_christie on Jul 2, 11 at 03:54 PM

    Another website you should check out is one I've developed. http://fuelmyroute.com finds for you the lowest price of gas along your route. Currently it will show you the lowest gas price every 100 miles that is within 1 mile of your route. I've used it to check gas prices on my commute. Our family also made use of it last fall when we went to Disney World.

    Let me know if you have any feedback or suggestions.

  • Grubber on Jun 21, 11 at 02:46 AM

    You'll also want to fill up in the cool morning to get the most out of your gas and by pumping slowly since the air is thinner.

  • Swantraveller on Jun 11, 11 at 11:40 AM

    I appreciate the links you have shared to find cheap gas in a given area - might come handy one of these days! Thanks for sharing!

  • BarbBelle on Jun 8, 11 at 06:19 PM

    You don't know how fortunate you are. $4 a gallon. Here in the UK the average price is $9.50 a gallon!!!

  • mocopaul on Jun 8, 11 at 04:37 PM

    I thought this was going to give "6 Gas Savings Tips for Summer Road Trips". This gives one tip (#5) on saving gas and 5 tips on saving money. These are 2 different things. You don't save money driving with the windows down when you are over 35 mph and who leaves their car on while eating at a fast food restaurant? Try these tips...
    1. Combine trips (i.e. stop at the grocery store on the way home from the beach).
    2. Ride a bike to the park and other short trips
    3. Driver a high mpg vehicle (my Honda Insight is getting 41+ mpg)
    4. Know where you are going, so you don't need to drive around looking for it.
    5. Keep you tires inflated properly (ok, I took this from #5)
    6. Slow down. What's the hurry anyway?
    7. Going with friends? Don't drive separately.