Have you noticed the prices at the gas pump? Of course I have! They have increased recently and are well over $4 a gallon in Idaho. Neighboring states like California and Nevada cost well over $5 a gallon, according to recent data from the Automobile Association of America.
This comes at an important time in Idaho’s economic cycle. According to the Wells Fargo Economist Group, “the resurgence in gasoline prices, and the likelihood that they will remain elevated for an extended period, will present challenges to the broader economic recovery, especially as driving is expected to increase on a seasonal basis with businesses bringing workers back to the office more and more.The good news is that I have some financial tips that will hopefully make the next fill a little easier.
Take advantage of discounts
There are several opportunities to take advantage of discounts when you fill up. Start with your local grocery store. Some have loyalty programs tied to gas stations that may offer discounts when you fill up. Be sure to compare using points for gas rebates versus grocery rebates to make sure you’re getting the most out of your loyalty points.
Stock up at warehouse clubs
Traditionally, warehouse clubs have some of the cheapest gas stations around. If you belong to a warehouse club, visit their website to find refueling points and, in many cases, see real-time gas prices.
Find cheap stations
There are a number of gas price apps and websites where you can find the lowest price in your area. Make sure the distance traveled to get the cheaper gas does not exceed the amount of money saved.
Check your car
Under-inflated tires are a big drag on gas mileage. Check your tire inflation and make sure your tires are in good working order. A tune-up and oil change could also provide fuel savings for your vehicle.
Keep your tank half full
Keeping your tank half full will ensure that you don’t feel like you have to pay the highest prices when your tank is nearly empty. You’ll have time to shop around for better prices and avoid the most expensive gas stations when you already have plenty of gas in your tank.
With the economic recovery underway and many people returning to the office, now is a great time to find additional ways to save money on your daily commute.
— Joy Ott is the regional banking manager for Wells Fargo Idaho.