Updated Jun 11, 2022 - Economy

5 top ways to save on high gas prices

Yellow taxi cab driving in front of a gas station

The national average for regular unleaded was $4.91 a gallon June 7. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The pain at the pump shows no signs of slowing down, with record-high gas prices being br0ken almost daily.

Why it matters: Even as gas prices inch closer to a national average of $5 a gallon and Americans grapple with inflation, there are some ways to save money on a fill-up from searching for the cheapest price to using loyalty programs.

Driving the news: The national average for regular unleaded was $4.956 on Wednesday.

  • 16 states, along with Washington D.C., had averages exceeding $5 a gallon Wednesday, according to the latest data from AAA.
  • California ($6.39) and Nevada ($5.56) had the nation's highest prices Tuesday.
  • Georgia has the lowest at $4.38 a gallon.
  • Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, told Axios that gas could hit an average of $5 nationwide in the “next week or so.”

GasBuddy, AAA apps help find cheap gas

Check apps like GasBuddy, AAA and Gas Guru to find the cheapest gas prices before filling up.

What they’re saying: GasBuddy spokesperson Nicole Petersen advises shopping around for the best gas prices, but the cheapest station isn’t always the most convenient.

  • “Drivers can save in the range of 30 cents per gallon just by comparing prices and driving a few extra blocks,” Petersen told Axios.
Costco gas station with cars lined up
Costco members say fuel savings is a top perk of their membership. Photo: Gabe Ginsberg/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Costco and Sam's Club gas prices

Wholesale clubs like Costco and Sam's Club are known for having some of the lowest gas prices around, which also can make their gas stations some of the busiest.

  • Retailers have considered it common for members to shop while visiting the store for a fill-up for many years.
  • But Bob Nelson, a Costco senior vice president, said May 26 during the retailer’s quarterly earnings call that a lot more members are coming by to “top off their tank just because the value proposition, in some cases, is over $1 a gallon.”

Meanwhile, at BJ's Wholesale, save 10 cents on each gallon of gas for each eligible item purchased with its "Fuel Saver Program."

  • There's also a BJ's promotion through June 15 to get 75 cents off a gallon when purchasing four qualifying items in one transaction.

What they're saying: “If you fill up at the wholesale club the majority of the time, you do get an advantage and the more often you do it, (the membership) can pay for itself,” GasBuddy's De Haan said in an interview with Axios.

Gas rewards and loyalty programs

Be smart: Almost every major gas station chain has a loyalty program and some regularly offer savings.

Kroger, Safeway, Walmart offer fuel rewards

Quick take: Grocery store chains including Kroger and Albertsons offer gas savings when buying groceries with their loyalty programs.

  • At Kroger earn Fuel Points with the loyalty program and get between 10 cents and $1 off a gallon, depending on how many points you redeem.
  • With Safeway and Albertson’s loyalty program, earn one fuel point for every dollar spent and with 100 points get 10 cents a gallon off at Chevron and Texaco stations.
  • Members of Walmart+, which costs $12.95 a month or $98 a year, save 10 cents per gallon at participating Exxon and Mobil locations.

Cash back on gas with credit cards

The big picture: Bankrate’s Ted Rossman said using a gas rewards credit card is the best bet to save, but it can depend on the card.

  • Rossman said gas station credit cards don’t offer the highest discounts and were between 5 to 10 cents a gallon.
  • Look for cards offering a high percentage back for gas and if you're a wholesale club member, Sam's Club offers 5% back on gas and Costco 4% with their branded cards.

Reality check: Paying in cash can sometimes save you money because of credit card surcharges, but watch out as gas stations that charge this fee often charge higher prices.

High gas prices at a California gas station
California has the nation's highest gas prices. Photo: Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Bonus: Krispy Kreme doughnuts gas price

Krispy Kreme brings back its "Beat the Pump” promotion Wednesday, which ties the price of a dozen doughnuts to the national average price of a regular gallon of gas.

  • The deal will be held every Wednesday through Aug. 31 and there's a limit of two discounted dozens per customer.

Flashback: Krispy Kreme first offered the promotion in April, when the national average price of a gallon of regular gasoline exceeded $4.

Editor's note: This story was originally published on June 8.

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