1. Be loyal Use your grocery store's preferred-customer card to earn extra savings at the pump.
Kroger: For every $100 worth of groceries you buy, save 10 cents per gallon of gas at a Kroger Fuel Center.
Stop & Shop Every dollar you spend at Stop & Shop earns a point on your card. After 100 points, you'll save 10¢/gallon on gas—you can redeem up to $2.20/gallon in a single fill up. Visit stopandshop.com for a store near you.
Safeway: Club Card members save 3 cents every day at store pumps and earn 5- or 10-cent bonuses for eligible purchases of $50 or more through the grocer's Power Pump program. Visit safeway.com.
Giant Eagle: Earn "fuelperks" and save 10 cents per gallon of gas when you spend $50 or more. Visit gianteagle.com.
2. Avoid using debit cards Don't pay for gas with your debit card (at the pump or inside the store). Some banks charge fees for using the card, which increases the cost of already pricey gas. Certain gas stations also request that banks put a hold on a set amount of money in your account to make sure you can cover the purchase. So even if you spent only $20 on gas, you may not have access to as much as $100 of your money for a few days. This can lead to problems like bounced checks and result in more fees. Pay with cash or a credit card instead.
3. Get free gas What could be better than a no-cost fill-up?
Meijer's Fuel Rewards Program: Look for "free gas" signs around the store. Then purchase participating products and you'll receive free gas rewards at the checkout that you can use at any Meijer Gas Station.
FuelLinks: Use your FuelLinks card and earn "cash-for-gas" on your purchases. Join online at fuellinks.com, check out the extensive list of participants and start earning rewards redeemable at certain gas stations.
4. Become a member Joining a club or organization may be worth it when gas savings come along with membership.
American Automobile Association (AAA): Members who use their Gas Rebate Platinum Plus Visa card get up to a 5 percent gasoline rebate on any pay-at-the-pump purchase. Visit aaa.com.
Big warehouse clubs: Sam's Club, Costco and BJ's Wholesale Club often feature some of the lowest gas prices in town. Keep in mind, though, that the cost of membership (typically $35 to $45 a year) will eat into your savings. But if you buy enough gas, it may be worth it.
5. Buy yourself a gas gift Purchase a Wal-Mart gift card and use it instead of cash to pay for gas fill-ups at any Wal-Mart or Sam's Club gas station. You'll automatically save 3 cents per gallon. Think of it as a prepaid gas card with benefits. Visit walmart.com
6. Fill up far from roadways Gas prices tend to be higher the closer you are to interstates and major highways. Avoid the gas stations on the side of the road and near the off-ramp. Drive a few blocks, and the gas costs may drop considerably.
7. Combine errands Several short rides taken individually can use twice as much fuel as a longer, multidestination trip covering the same distance.
8. Earn credit card rewards Rebates and cash-back awards are becoming popular as gas prices rise. Learn about credit cards with gasoline savings at pumpandsave.com.
9. Find cheap gas Visit these Web sites to get up-to-date gas prices in your area and other great fuel-saving tips:
10. Beware of scams The Environmental Protection Agency evaluated or tested more than 100 supposed gas-saving devices, from air bleeds to mixture enhancers, and found none that significantly improved gas mileage. In fact, some may actually increase exhaust emissions or cause damage to your car. Be leery of products that say they improve fuel economy or are endorsed by the government--the claims are probably false.
11. Optimize your route At gebweb.net/optimap, input your destination, and the site will map out your quickest route, saving you travel time and fuel.
12. Get a heads-up Meijer tells you when its stores' pump prices are about to go up. Register your cell number at meijer.com to receive a text message. Click on "At Stores," then "Gas Text Alerts."
13. Go against the grain Plan your shopping for when traffic is lightest, such as early in the morning or late at night, to avoid wasting time and gas.
14. Find the right spot Next time you’re in a crowded parking lot, burn less fuel by zipping into the first available spot instead of searching for a better location. Also, try to find a spot in the shade or use a sunshade for your windshield. Leave the windows slightly open so you won’t feel the need to blast the air conditioning when you get back in.
15. Calculate your costs Want to know how much gas you'll use during your next road trip? Check out these Web sites to find out so you can plan your route accordingly: