As a single parent, you have to work hard to get by on one income. That means budgeting for expenses like groceries and gasoline. However, it's hard to budget for gas prices that keep going up and up. Don't give up hope, though. Shopping around for the cheapest gas prices in your area can help you save quite a bit of money.
For example, let's say you drive 1,000 miles per month, and your car's gas mileage is about 20 miles per gallon.
Saving just $0.10 per gallon of gasoline would save you $50 a year!
Of course, it wouldn't be productive to compare prices by driving around town, so here are some online tools and suggestions to help you find the cheapest gas in your area and save on gas prices:
Search Gas Prices by State or Zip Code
GasBuddy is a tool that lets you compare gas prices by zip code in the U.S. and Canada Here's how to use it:
- Go to the site and click on your state or province
- Search by geographic location or gas station/brand
- GasBuddy also has an app for Apple and Android devices
- Try GassBuddy's trip cost calculator, too, to estimate how much a long-distance drive will cost you
MapQuest also provides an online tool to help you find the cheapest gas prices in your area. It's a free service, so there's nothing to lose by giving it a try. The tool shows high and low gas prices throughout the U.S. and help you quickly find the lowest-priced gas right in your own area.
To use it, go to the site and click on the "gas" tool at the top of the page. The map will automatically populate with price icons to show you the current prices at nearby gas stations.
Automotive.com has a state-by-state gas prices tool that lets you see the prices for different types of gas, too.
So if you have an older car that really needs premium or plus—or if you have a diesel—this site has the information you need.
Additional Gas Price Tools
- AAA provides an interactive map of the U.S. that shows gas prices in every state, as well as the daily national average.
- FuelEconomy.gov has a similar tool that lets you find local comparison tools right in your own neighborhood. It's only available in select areas, but it may help you find the cheapest gas in your area, especially for small, privately owned gas stations.
- Your insurance company may also provide gas price tools online. For example, Allstate's website has a digital gas price locator.
Get Creative at Saving Money on Gas Prices
Pay attention to which gas stations in your area charge more for credit and make a point of paying cash instead. You might be able to save as much as $0.10 per gallon! In addition, if you have a Costco near you, the gas savings alone may worth the cost of a membership:
- Costco is a food warehouse where you can purchase staples, such as toilet paper and chicken nuggets, at lower prices
- The membership fee is $50 per year
- Costco's gas prices tend to be at least $0.10 less than the lowest gas prices in the surrounding area
- Not every Costco includes a gas station, so you'll want to ask your local Costco warehouse before you sign up