Gas station chains do not typically offer discounts for active-duty Armed Force’s members, veterans or their families. It’s possible individual locations do offer discounts, especially around bases. It’s always worth asking or calling ahead to see if there is a gas station your area that does offer a military discount on gas.
While military discounts on gas are not typically available there are many ways to save money on gas.
Gas Saving Tips Before You Get to The Pump
- Purchase Gas Earlier in the Week – Often times gas prices are raised right before the weekend starting on Thursday especially leading up to a holiday weekend.
- Fill up Early or Late in the Day – Gas is less dense as it gets hotter and you wind up getting less.
- Look For Promotions – During the holidays gas chains may offer discounted gift cards, some stations offer cents off each gallon with a car wash and Walmart is currently offering .10 to .15 cents off through December 24th, 2012.
- Avoid the Busy Highway Station – Stations near the highway don’t need to be as price conscious due to demand and accessibility for highway drivers.
- Fill up Before You’re Near Empty – Hopefully you know where to find the best priced gas but if you’re near empty that may not matter and you’ll have to find the nearest, possibly expensive station. Fill up around a quarter empty and get the added bonus of not running dirty gas often located at the bottom of the tank through your car.
- Purchase Gas Station Gift Cards in the Aftermarket – There are many sites that provide a marketplace for people to buy and sell gift cards such as Shell, Valero and Exxon Mobil. You can find a $50 gas gift card selling for $45 and save $5 off gas. See such sites such as Card Pool or Gift Card Granny or try googling “discounted gift cards” for other sites.
- Pay with Cash or Debit Cards – Some gas stations provide discounts for paying with cash or debit cards and in some cases that is all they except in exchange for lower gas prices. Other gas stations charge fees to use your debit or card. If you can pay with cash shop around and find the gas station that offers the best discount on gas.
- Find Club Warehouse or Supermarket Gas Stations – Oftentimes, not always, these places are consistently lower in gas per gallon than stand alone stations. Gas isn’t their primary business and providing gas at a discount brings in customers to their stores so they’re incented to provide cheaper gas. Costco, Sam’s Club (military discount on purchase of membership at participating locations), Vons, and Safeway are a few options. You can also combine your spending at supermarkets such as Vons, Kroger, and Lowe’s Foods to earn points towards discounted gas.
- Use Supermarket Loyalty Rewards at affiliated Gas Station Partnerships – Many supermarkets have partnered with gas station chains to offer discounted gas. Some examples include Stop and Shop’s partnership with Shell or Kroger’s partnership with Shell. It’s important to keep in mind that even with the discount this still may not be the best price for gas or there may be more value in using your points on other items.
- Use a Gas Station Affiliated or Generic Card for Savings – Get everything from cash back to rebates on each gallon of gas purchased. Utilize Credit Card comparison sites such as CreditCards.com to find the best card that fits your needs. Before applying consider that if you don’t pay your credit card off monthly and avoid interest rate charges you may wind up spending more than you save.
- Use Mobile Apps and Websites to Find the Cheapest Gas in Your Area – Here are a few mobile apps and websites that help find the cheapest gas in your area.
Gas Buddy – Website and mobile app.
Gas Saving Tips Before Driving
- Don’t Drive with Excess Weight – Driving with items you don’t need for you trip will cost you at the pump. Remove the tool box, snow tires in the summer, or anything else you don’t need.
- Reduce the Wind Resistance – Wind resistance on a car causes the car to work harder and expend more fuel. Remove the bike or luggage rack and roll up the windows when possible.
- Ride Your Bicycle – Everybody needs exercise and if your trip is nearby why not use your bike? For families this can be a great family event.
- Public Transportation – Depending on where you live this can be a great option. There are many forms of public transportation from subways, to buses, to trains. It isn’t always convenient or the quickest option but when gas is high, public transportation can significantly save in costs.
- Don’t Top it Off – Once the fuel nozzle clicks don’t resume filling it up. This can result in gas spilling out.
- Avoid Traffic – Driving in traffic increases fuel consumption because your car idles, you’re braking more often and the A/C may be running longer than necessary. Check traffic before you go and choose times where there is little to no traffic. You’ll save time too.
- Map Out Your Route – You may have several errands to run and if you map out your route before leaving you can save on gas and time. Consider traffic, minimizing backtracking and the stop signs and traffic lights. Also, consider trying to make only right hand turns. Studies have shown gas consumption is much lower making only right hand turns and reduces time by not idling at left hand turn lights, so consider the direction you will start your errands from as well.
Gas Saving Tips While Driving
- Drive Conservatively – Braking and rapidly accelerating, especially on hills, can be costly. Many studies have shown that aggressive driving may get you there quicker but in addition to not being safe, it will cost you at the pump. This will also save you on maintenance and wear and tear on your brakes.
- Cruise Control – Keeping a steady speed has been shown to reduce fuel consumption, so set the cruise control when you’re on the highway for long drive.
- Don’t let the Engine Idle – Whether you’re waiting for your kids to come out of school or for someone to pull out of the ATM, turn off the engine. The general rule of thumb is if you’ll be waiting more than a minute, turn it off.
- Warm up Your Car for Shorter Periods – Aim for less than minute or even 30 seconds. Cars today don’t need to be warmed up like older models.
- Drive the Speed Limit – Traffic lights are typically timed with the speed limit. Racing to the next light will only cause more fuel consumption.
- Turn Off the A/C – Easier said than done, especially with the earlier tip to keep the windows up to reduce wind resistance. Nevertheless, the A/C can be a luxury versus a need and it doesn’t need to be on automatic or full throttle. Utilizing the A/C uses more gas so reduce where possible.
Gas Saving Maintenance Tips
- Properly Maintain Your Vehicle – Get your vehicle serviced routinely and make sure your engine is tuned. It may seem like you’re saving money by not getting it serviced, but in reality you’re consuming more gas and possibly causing more long-term wear and tear on your vehicle.
- Keep The Tires Properly Inflated – Under-inflated tires cause more fuel to be consumed. Check your tires regularly and keep them properly inflated. Keep an a watchful eye during drastic shifts in temperature, as the PSI is more likely to shift.
- Change the Filters – Dusty or dirty filters can cause a vehicle to burn gas less efficiently.
- Motor Oil – Using the wrong motor oil can cause an engine to work harder and use more gas. There is only lost savings by using the incorrect motor oil.
- Don’t Always Opt for Premium Gas – Not all cars require premium gas. Check the owner’s manual and consult with your mechanic before reaching for the premium button on the pump.
Got a tip to save gas or know of a gas station offering a military discount on gas? Comment below to let our readers know.
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News