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One way to save on gas

? Summer Oil Prices |


| Vonage "Pimps" That Phone ?

July 22, 2005

One way to save on gas

Amey Stone

Most of the advice on how to cut your gas bill is pretty basic stuff -- make sure your tires are inflated and the car is tuned up to increase fuel efficiency; plan your car trips ahead so you can combine errands or arrange to carpool.

But the folks at Shell just reminded me of another way to reduce your gas bill -- this time by a meaningful and fairly painless 5%: Use a gasoline rebate card. Shell has one, of course, and the Shell MasterCard grants 5% rebates on Shell gasoline purchase, plus 1 percent on anything else. The company estimates (based on $2.33 a gallon, which is about the national average now), that users save 11 cents a gallon.

It's not huge savings, but it's an easy way to get at least your family's price-per-gallon back down to $2.22. Not bad!

There are plenty of other gas rebate cards out there so shop around. Here's a report from Cincinnati station WCPO discussing a few other offers.

Does anyone have a favorite card to mention or additional advice on these programs to share?

07:06 AM

Frugal Shopper

TrackBack URL for this entry:

I'm a fan of AT&T Universal Cash Rewards and Citi Dividend Platinum Select, both give 5% at all gas stations but have a maximum cap of reward dollars of $300 each, which is like $6k in gas (over 2,500 gal. of gasoline)... and you can use it at any gas station. Cheers, jim

Posted by: jim at July 22, 2005 09:37 AM

Of course if you don't pay the balance off then your 2.33 a gallon may cost you 2.73 a gallon.

Posted by: ~Dawn at July 22, 2005 11:08 AM

Simple Ways to Save Gas

High fuel prices have led many to search for ways to save on gas. In addition to the usual suggestions (tune your car, inflate your tires properly, drive the speed limit), here are a few you might not have thought of:

Double your gas mileage??uaranteed! A promise of double gas mileage (or half-price gas) certainly gets your attention. Yet it can be achieved easily, by driving a more efficient car or increasing the number of riders.

Surprisingly, a recent survey found only 40% of drivers would consider a car with better gas mileage! But simply driving a more efficient car can double your mileage (and cut your gas bill in half) with no other changes in behavior. For example, the Honda Civic HX gets 36 mpg in the city, double the similarly sized Subaru Imprezza WRX which gets 18 mpg in the city using premium fuel. If your family has two cars, drive the more efficient one, and when it comes time to buy another car, carefully analyze gas mileage. You can check gas mileage figures at

Similarly, if you pair up on a trip for which you and your friend would normally drive separate cars you can effectively double your gas mileage. Plus, car pooling has other benefits. A trip to the store can be more fun when your friend comes along. And you can "multi-task" on the commute by reading mail while your friend is driving. Car pooling benefits are multiplied further when you use public transit.

If you combine car pooling with driving a more efficient car, you can effectively quadruple your gas mileage.

Reduce and combine trips. Humans are creatures of habit. We tend to repeat the same driving patterns over and over again. But by examining your driving habits you can combine multiple trips into one.

For example, instead of running to the grocery store in the evening, you can stop by on the way home from work. Rather than driving around to find a special item, telephone the stores to find the one that carries it. Also, shop on line and have goods mailed to you. Shopping online has the added benefit of avoiding sales tax, a significant sum on big ticket items like computers. Combining two trips into one can effectively double your gas mileage.

Get the best gas deal. Gas prices vary by five cents or more per gallon from station to station. Yet often the more expensive stations have as many patrons as the less expensive, giving retailers little incentive to lower prices. Search out the least expensive station. This will not only save money but will reward the station with the lower price and encourage price competition.

Consider a gas rebate card. Many gas stations encourage loyalty by offering a 3% to 6% rebate on gas purchases with their branded card. If you use credit wisely and pay your balance in full every month, a rebate card is a good way to shave a few cents off every gallon. For example, $2.25 gas effectively costs $2.11 with a 6% discount and $2.18 with a 3% discount. You can find a list of gas rebate cards at or

Clear the junk from the trunk. Each extra 100 pounds you carry reduces your gas mileage by 1%. Removing your textbooks, barbells and snow tires from the trunk can increase your gas mileage.

Idling cars are the devil's tool. An idling car gets zero miles per gallon. And a car in rush hour traffic does a lot of idling. Plan your discretionary travel during non-peak hours. See a matinee instead of an evening movie. Go early to a sports event to avoid traffic and enjoy a leisurely meal while the cars pile up. Save time and money by traveling during non-peak hours.

Avoid the air. Using air conditioning during city driving significantly reduces gas mileage. In many of today's climate controlled cars, the air conditioner cycles on and off without input from the driver, sometimes even in Winter. Turn the air off and use your windows for ventilation in appropriate situations.

Additionally, many modern cars automatically turn on the air conditioning every time you use "defrost." Try cracking open the windows for ventilation on a rainy day instead.

Cut the commute. Significant fuel and time savings are possible by reducing your commute. First, consider living closer to work, or working closer to home. Second, see if you can work four ten-hour-days instead of five eight-hour-days. Finally, explore whether you can work from home one or more days a week. Cutting the commute can reduce gas consumption by 20% or more.

Higher fuel prices are squeezing many budgets. But with thought, you can cut your gas spending by more than half. For more money saving tips visit

Posted by: Tim at July 23, 2005 11:35 AM

I'm beginning to think that the inventor of the bicycle should begin to be referred to as a genius in the same light as Einstein. I'm about ready to give up driving all together.

Posted by: StockTape at July 24, 2005 12:09 PM

Credit card companies sucker people into these programs all the time. I once read on MSN Money that ~50% of consumers pay their credit cards in full each month. But what about the other 50%?

It's a great program for those who have the financial capacity and maturity to pay all payments off each month. But be warned--I fell victim to an airline "sky miles" program, and while I've earned 50k FF miles that are hard to redeem, I paid more in interest charges than what a round-trip coach ticket to India would cost before I finally paid it off.

Posted by: Wes at July 25, 2005 10:41 AM

Live closer to work or better yet work from home one or two days a week. Be practical by using a smaller car rather than drive your SUV or minivan around. I like to combine shopping trips on the way home. Use public transportation going to downtown events - save on parking too!

Posted by: sambangalore at July 31, 2005 12:38 PM

I found some great deals here.

Posted by: Gas at August 3, 2005 03:59 PM

I've got one good reference for all of you: This is a site that collects information from posters all over the country on finding gas stations with the cheapest prices in your area. I actually post myself for the stations I pass on the way to work everyday.

Better still, this site offers plenty of advice on gas savings tips as well as links for other useful inforation, like the gas discount credit cards the wise poster mentioned above.

I, myself, use a manual transmission-- and I've improved mileage quite a bit by keeping the gear in neutral and "coasting" to a stop. I wouldn't advise that for everyone, but it works for me...

Posted by: The Assetman at August 7, 2005 10:42 PM

I recently won a bet by driving 30+ miles on a single gallon of gas in a ten year old Toyota

4 cylinder Camry averaging 60 miles per hour,after

allowing for a one minute slow acceleration to 60.

Here are the facts. Both times the fuel was fed

from a rooftop one gallon container. The engine only started afer the fuel flow was pitcocked

into the line. The car was at the same spot when

starting, and traversed the same exact route

until the engine died for lack of fuel. It was not

a level road, but rather one consisting of a mix

of 2%to3% upgrades and down grades, and about half the distance being nearly level gradiant. For

safty reasons there was no traffic to contend with, due to the choice of road and the early hour. I drove in both cases and tried to maintain the same powered RPM through each quarter mile of the route, with one exception: When I was not applying power, I had shifted the automatic

transmission into NUETRAL. My average RPM in that mode was only about 850 R.P.M. I never coasted where the gradient exceeded 3%, and never allowed the car to slow lower than 56 M.P.H. without going back into DRIVE. I never allowed

car to exceed 65 M.P.H. while coasting, and would not go into COAST MODE without the clear chance to coast at least 3/4 of a mile at a single

application of the COASTING MODE. The results:

As stated before, I went exactly 30.3 miles before running out with the COASTING TECHNIQUE. Driving the same

speed ranges at 2300 R.P.M. over the identical course I ran out at 25.6 miles. The second run started 90 minutes later, and I encountered 4

other cars, going in the same direction, without

any special interaction or risk, being close to my normal driving technique. My bet was won,

by exceeding the estimated savings of a friend

(he bet I would only gain 2 miles) in reality it turned out to be 4.7 miles of FREE travel. In

many localities this would be in violation of

the vehicle code. Perhaps it would be a good

idea to test this further, and make it legal in daylight, on rural divided highways. Especially

if gas goes to $4 per gallon!

Posted by: Allan Silliphant at September 7, 2005 09:21 PM

get real you will pay for gas ! all the saving tips i have found just a common sense. also shifting automatic into neutral :) lol makes me laugh why not get a standard, besides saving pennies vs transmission id still choose the transmission.

Posted by: dunnothename at September 16, 2005 02:43 AM

i drive a expidition ford and i'm trying to find a way to save gas at a stop light, is it better that i'd switch to nuetral? would that save me more gas?

Posted by: maggie at November 2, 2005 11:07 PM

Maggie -

sell the Expedition. Trying to save gas in a behemoth like that is a joke.

Switching to neutral at every stoplight won't save you a dime of gas but it will cost a lot of money in repairs to the tranny clutches and valve body and the shift linkage in fairly short order. I.E. Don't do it.

Posted by: Wes at November 11, 2005 12:13 AM

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued an interim report to Congress on its investigation into Midwest gas price increases that was cited at the reasons that the FTC launched the investigation. It also provides a status report on the continuing investigation, including progress and a description of the work not yet done. The report details the history of the price spikes of reformulated gasoline (RFG) in the Midwestern part of the country and how these increases caused Commission staff to initiate a preliminary investigation in June and prompted the Commission to begin a formal investigation during the latter part of July.

The report analyzes many conditions reported as potential causes of the gas price spikes - ranging from higher than normal crude oil prices, to the expectation of compliance with EPA Phase II regulations for summer-blend reformulated gasoline in high-ozone urban areas, to the damage to the critically important Explorer pipeline during March. However, the report says that "although it is likely that each of these supply factors contributed to the dramatic recent price spikes in the Midwest, no single factor appears from staff's preliminary investigation to be likely to provide a full explanation, and staff does not yet have sufficient information to assess the impact of these factors in combination."

In accordance with the report, Commission staff is investigating "the possibility of collusion or tacit coordination, conduct that could be illegal under Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act." Due to the abundance of potential interwoven causes as well as the monstrous amount of evidential information being collected for the course of the investigation, the report also states that "this investigation is likely to consume, at a minimum, another three or four months."

The report shows that on June 29, Commission staff issued the first round of subpoenas to the nine refiners that currently supply the Midwestern markets and that within the month, staff has accepted and logged approximately 200 boxes of documentation. Around mid August, most documents requested from the first round of subpoenas will be delivered to the Commission offices.

The Commission also issued a second round of subpoenas to other refiners last week, and has issued Civil Investigative Demands (CIDs) to the refiners recently, requesting that the refiners compile data and answers to all of the Commissions written questions. Commission staff issued another set of subpoenas on July 25 to the entities that own or control the gas transportation pipelines serving the Midwest markets of the United States. Documents from that set of subpoenas are expected to begin arriving shortly at Commission offices.

The report further details the Commission?? plan to conduct a series of in depth interviews as part of the investigation. Staff has already conducted nearly 15 interviews with market participants, consumers, corporate consumers and many others with knowledge of investigation relevant information, and continues the process of capturing pertinent industry-wide data from the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS). After the documentary evidence has been reviewed and analyzed, staff will take depositions under oath of key participating personnel throughout the gasoline distribution chain in the Midwest United States.

Federal Trade Commission staff will also coordinate all of the investigative efforts with the Attorney General of Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Kentucky, South Dakota, Indiana, Missouri, and West Virginia.

You can find more information on this and other current events topics at

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Posted by: DAVID SKUL at November 17, 2005 12:25 AM

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