Frugality Videos

Quick Tip: Don’t Always Get The Cheapest Gas

Just wanted to give you a quick tip today about running around for gas.  Some people will literally not go to a gas station because it is 5 cents more a gallon than somewhere else 5 miles away.  This is really not a good way to save money on gas.  The average tank holds between 15-18 gallons.  This means that you will save less than a dollar total.  It’s not really worth the hassle.  If you pass a cheaper gas station on your way home, go for it.  But, if you are going out of your way to save 5 cents a gallon or less than a dollar total for the fill up, it really isn’t worth it.  You will save a lot more money just by sucking it up and paying that extra 5 cents.  That is my quick tip for the day.  Don’t run around to find cheaper gas since it really won’t save you any money.

Comments (8)

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  • With newer, more fuel-efficient cars, the difference won’t be as great, but the following point still stands. With trucks (~15mpg) and older cars (e.g., mine gets ~20-22mpg), consider this:

    Let’s say I get 20mpg, I need a full tank, and a station five miles away is five cents cheaper.

    16 gal x $0.05 savings = $0.80 saved

    With a ten mile round trip, that’s half a gallon: $1.50 in gas spent

    Net trip savings: $0.70 more expensive. And that’s assuming I need a full tank. If I still have 1/4 tank left, the trip is instead $0.90 more expensive.

    FYI, even a Toyota Prius Hybrid (~50mpg) would never quite break even in this scenario. ($0.60 gas used, less than $0.60 saved)

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    • Love the math. Time is also another factor in there. Driving around to get that extra penny takes up time you could be doing something else. Yea it won’t be much time but over a lifespan that will add up.

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  • Too true Kevin.

    Sometimes we are in such a penny-pinching mindset that we forget to use common sense. The one thing that will save you more money than anything else is a little logic.

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    • Great point. If only they had a class in common sense

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  • Well, that’s a good point until macro-economics takes hold. How do you get cheaper gas? Demand cheaper gas. When you show the market that you don’t value its offering as much, it will cut the price.

    If one place is selling gas for $2.78 and the other place is selling it for $2.75, people going to the $2.75 tells the market that $2.75 is the more appropriate price. Single people have small effect in this matter, but large groups have a noticeable effect.

    Gas is not more scarce now nor does it cost more to produce. Always choosing lower-cost gas tells oil execs to find other ways to make their profits.

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    • I feel like that would just tell that gas station to lower the price. But you’re right about single people not having a big effect.

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  • Very true! A lot of people don’t take into consideration the gas and time they are wasting just to find the cheap gas stations. The last time I bought cheap gas my pipes were clanking; I try to stick with Chevron now.

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