Gas Station Smarts:
5 tips for getting the most from your fill-up
With gas prices hitting new highs this fall, we all need to be careful about keeping our gas costs under control. At $3.00 a gallon, filling up a standard car’s tank could cost you more than $50.00 a pop. From how to deal with high prices to avoiding credit card fraud – Here are our tips for getting the most from your fill-up:
1. Conserve Gas There are a few easy steps you can take to reduce your car’s gas consumption and save a few bucks. First, make sure that your car is tuned-up and the tires are properly inflated – a little bit of TLC can make a big difference in fuel efficiency. You should also remove any unnecessary heavy items from your trunk and try to obey the speed limit. Fuel consumption can increase dramatically when you drive above 55 miles per hour.
2. Narrow It Down It’s easy to keep track of your gas spending when you dedicate one credit card to this expense. Using a credit card for your gas purchase is also a good idea because you won’t be liable for any fraudulent charges in the event of identity theft. If you use a credit card with a rewards program you could be earning points for each gallon you buy. These Gas Credit Cards can even help reduce the price of your gas. You can also find the cheapest gas station in your area using this online gas price finder that’s updated daily.
3. Alternative Routes If you are planning a road trip or holiday visit, consider taking a bus, train or plane instead of driving. You can estimate the cost of gas for your drive using this online calculator. Compare that cost with the price of a ticket to see what mode of transportation is best. Along with gas savings, you may be able to spend more of your vacation relaxing instead of driving.
4. Watch Out for Holds When swipe your card at the pump, gas stations often block out a certain amount in advance to ensure that you have the funds to pay for a full tank. These “holds” usually range from $25-$75 and can stay on your account for up to a few days. For example: you enter your credit card before starting to pump and the gas station blocks out a $50 amount. Even if you only buy $5 worth of gas, a $50 hold could stay on your account for a while. This block can cause trouble when you go to make your next purchase, especially if you have a low credit limit or used a debit card. Avoid any issues with this process by using only one credit card for buying gas and keeping more than one credit card in your wallet.
5. Guard Against Identity Theft With gas prices so high, the last thing you need is someone stealing your credit card and racking up extra charges. Guard against identity theft by shredding all gas receipts and keeping an eye on your credit card when you hand it to someone. Gas station attendants could make a copy of your card or run it through a “skimmer” device when you are not looking. Review your credit card statements for suspicious charges each month and check your credit reports for signs of identity theft every 6-12 months.
With a little awareness, you can keep your gas expenses low and your finances healthy this fall!