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Road Trip: Soliciting Suggestions on How to Save On Gas Costs

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The family and I are planning on visiting friends and family in October, and will be travelling a total of 2,500 to 3,500 miles round trip.  I'm looking for practical suggestions on how to save as much as possible on our gas purchases.  I am aware of the need to keep the tires inflated properly, and other good mechanical advice.  I'm not looking for suggestions about what type of car to drive or how to drive it.  I already know all of this.  So, what I am looking for are creative ways to save a few bucks.  For example, the vehicle we have cames with a card from the dealer for a $0.10 discount per gallon, but it is only valid at a chain of stations in and around our state, so we will fill up there, but that only covers one tank.  We have another local chain that offers a $0.03 discount per gallon if you use their points card.  Again, that would only work for the first tank.  We could use Sam's Club or Costco, but they are not always accessible along the route we will be travelling.  Also, I always use my rewards CC.  I will be using the gasbuddy app as well.  Any other thoughts?  I have checked other treads, but havent' been able to find this topic in the last 3 years or so.  Thanks.

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Your plan is good. Use an app or website like http://www.gasbuddy.com and find out which locations that you will pass through have the cheapest gas. You can combine that with looking for Costco and Sam's in those areas.

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isnt there a gas location app that tells you the closest stations with the lowest prices? i forget the name of app though

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snnistle said:    I will be using the gasbuddy app as well.  Any other thoughts? 
  Thanks.  Got those ideas covered already.

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alwayslookinaround said:   isnt there a gas location app that tells you the closest stations with the lowest prices? i forget the name of app though
I used to use an app called CheapGas but that has not worked for me for a while.  I think GasGuru still works. Waze also gives gas info.

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Buy plastic gas containers and fill them up at the cheapest station. Then clean them and return to store after the trip

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Discounted gas prepaid cards from eBay and others?

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Buy a tesla. Then you'll save 100% on gas cost.

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http://www.autoblog.com/2007/10/28/mythbusters-drafting-10-feet-... 
Though as the article says, saves gas but is highly dangerous.

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3500 miles at 25mpg = 140 gallons. Saving $0.10 a gallon will save a total of $14.

Different way to save ....

Save more by putting the effort in elsewhere. Making one lunch at the hotel before leaving for the day will beat the gas savings (4 people traveling, $5/footlong).

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Using discounted gas prepaid cards is not a bad idea but it ties you up to a specific line of gas stations. So sometimes they won't be available or in some cases, they may not have the cheapest prices in which case, the savings on buying the prepaid cards may be cancelled out by the premium paid by always going with one type of gas station. That said, if you pick a gas station that is relatively cheap in your local area, you'll end up using it eventually so it won't get wasted. So maybe you can use those if the price is competitive during your trip and finish them off when you're back at home.

As for filling up gas containers, I don't know about you, but on our own road trips, no matter the size of the vehicle, it'll be filled with other stuff lol. So no room for gas containers. Plus, I'm not sure I want to bother with the potential smell of gasoline throughout the trunk or cabin just to save a few bucks.

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shadyj said:   3500 miles at 25mpg = 140 gallons. Saving $0.10 a gallon will save a total of $14.

Different way to save ....

Save more by putting the effort in elsewhere. Making one lunch at the hotel before leaving for the day will beat the gas savings (4 people traveling, $5/footlong).

  Save everywhere!

One way to save on gas is to haul less stuff -- weight matters, use no roof racks and tow nothing.

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Shandril said:   
As for filling up gas containers, I don't know about you, but on our own road trips, no matter the size of the vehicle, it'll be filled with other stuff lol. So no room for gas containers. Plus, I'm not sure I want to bother with the potential smell of gasoline throughout the trunk or cabin just to save a few bucks.

  if you have that many people in the car, you'll have to deal with odors either way. Turn the fan on high and turn off the recirc

OP can also buy a rooftop carrier or floating tow rack for the gas containers, and return that

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Drive 55 or draft semis

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Agree with the posters above. I've driven cross-country many times and tracked expenses. I'm all for using gas buddy to see if there is cheaper gas available along the way, exit to exit. However, I've seen people drive 50 miles out of the way to save .50 on a tank of gas or fill up way too early and haul that extra gas around. If you can use a card that gives you a discount or cash back, all the better, but don't stress over the gas and ruin your vacation. Can't agree more that buying snacks in advance instead of when you gas up will save you more money then pinching pennies on the gas itself.

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rufflesinc said:   
Shandril said:   
As for filling up gas containers, I don't know about you, but on our own road trips, no matter the size of the vehicle, it'll be filled with other stuff lol. So no room for gas containers. Plus, I'm not sure I want to bother with the potential smell of gasoline throughout the trunk or cabin just to save a few bucks.

  if you have that many people in the car, you'll have to deal with odors either way. Turn the fan on high and turn off the recirc

OP can also buy a rooftop carrier or floating tow rack for the gas containers, and return that

  There's not much you can do to destroy mileage faster than a roof top carrier.  Add in the extra weight of hauling around extra gas , the cost of the containers and roof carrier, and you'd have to buy fuel at one heck of a discount to begin to break even on that deal.   

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drodge said:   
rufflesinc said:   
Shandril said:   
As for filling up gas containers, I don't know about you, but on our own road trips, no matter the size of the vehicle, it'll be filled with other stuff lol. So no room for gas containers. Plus, I'm not sure I want to bother with the potential smell of gasoline throughout the trunk or cabin just to save a few bucks.

  if you have that many people in the car, you'll have to deal with odors either way. Turn the fan on high and turn off the recirc

OP can also buy a rooftop carrier or floating tow rack for the gas containers, and return that

  There's not much you can do to destroy mileage faster than a roof top carrier.  Add in the extra weight of hauling around extra gas , the cost of the containers and roof carrier, and you'd have to buy fuel at one heck of a discount to begin to break even on that deal.   

  are you saying the extra weight actually makes a difference?

the containers and carrier can be returned

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rufflesinc said:   
 
  are you saying the extra weight actually makes a difference?


 

  

Yes.  Hauling around extra weight does reduce your mileage.    

 

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jerosen said:   
rufflesinc said:   
 
  are you saying the extra weight actually makes a difference?


 

  

Yes.  Hauling around extra weight does reduce your mileage.    

 

  yes but is it significant compared to the savings

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rufflesinc said:   
jerosen said:   
rufflesinc said:   
 
  are you saying the extra weight actually makes a difference?


 

  

Yes.  Hauling around extra weight does reduce your mileage.    

 

  yes but is it significant compared to the savings

  
You're also cutting into your fuel economy by increasing drag due to the roof container.  

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He's either straight trolling, or has no concept of physics. Carrying heavy fuel on top of a vehicle is never going to save you money unless you're buying it at a 50% discount somewhere. Not to mention there aren't a lot of places that are going to allow you to return used gas cans and cargo carriers.

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Gas prices are at their lowest in 12 years, so by simply taking your trip now as opposed to when they were higher, you're saving money. Done!

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drodge said:   He's either straight trolling, or has no concept of physics. Carrying heavy fuel on top of a vehicle is never going to save you money unless you're buying it at a 50% discount somewhere. Not to mention there aren't a lot of places that are going to allow you to return used gas cans and cargo carriers.
  why don't you give some actual numbers of how much 100 lbs lowers mpg

the only things walmart doesn't let you return within 90 days is electronics and airbeds

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cestmoi123 said:   
rufflesinc said:   
jerosen said:   
rufflesinc said:   
 
  are you saying the extra weight actually makes a difference?


 

  

Yes.  Hauling around extra weight does reduce your mileage.    

 

  yes but is it significant compared to the savings

  
You're also cutting into your fuel economy by increasing drag due to the roof container.  

  didn't expect that to be taken seriously. Just put the gas containers in the car

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rufflesinc said:   
drodge said:   He's either straight trolling, or has no concept of physics. Carrying heavy fuel on top of a vehicle is never going to save you money unless you're buying it at a 50% discount somewhere. Not to mention there aren't a lot of places that are going to allow you to return used gas cans and cargo carriers.
  why don't you give some actual numbers of how much 100 lbs lowers mpg

the only things walmart doesn't let you return within 90 days is electronics and airbeds

  Because the burden is yours, you're the one who came up with the harebrained idea.   Anyone who's ever carried anything on the roof knows how much it kills mileage.  And by your notion of physics, why don't semi trucks have 1000 gal, fuel tanks?   
 

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Put the cruise control on or slightly above the speed limit. Cars passing you cut the air for you a little and you will enjoy your trip more by just staying in the slow lane. There is a lot to see in 3000 miles...look around a bit instead of making time.

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drodge said:   
rufflesinc said:   
drodge said:   He's either straight trolling, or has no concept of physics. Carrying heavy fuel on top of a vehicle is never going to save you money unless you're buying it at a 50% discount somewhere. Not to mention there aren't a lot of places that are going to allow you to return used gas cans and cargo carriers.
  why don't you give some actual numbers of how much 100 lbs lowers mpg

the only things walmart doesn't let you return within 90 days is electronics and airbeds

  Because the burden is yours, you're the one who came up with the harebrained idea.   Anyone who's ever carried anything on the roof knows how much it kills mileage.  

  No, you're the one dismissing it. It works on its face. You claim it doesn't, show that the change in mpg is significant enough

A google shows reduction of 1-2% in mpg for 100 lbs

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Sternforpres said:   Put the cruise control on or slightly above the speed limit. Cars passing you cut the air for you a little and you will enjoy your trip more by just staying in the slow lane. 
  wait wait, my idea is harebrained?

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rufflesinc said:   
Sternforpres said:   Put the cruise control on or slightly above the speed limit. Cars passing you cut the air for you a little and you will enjoy your trip more by just staying in the slow lane. 
  wait wait, my idea is harebrained?

  All of your ideas are rabbitbrained.

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Don't go. 100% savings.

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Drag is going to hurt your MPG, drag is the cube of velocity (speed). Therefore, the slower you drive the better your fuel economy. Some google-fu will show you that around 65 is the highest you should go to get good MPG. About 65 you are dropping MPG really quickly, and it you increase your drag by 3% for every 1% increase in speed.... do the math.

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Greatness said:   Don't go. 100% savings.
  how do you know OP won't be picking up some $$$ gift from a long lost uncle

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ryoung81 said:   Drag is going to hurt your MPG, drag is the cube of velocity (speed). Therefore, the slower you drive the better your fuel economy. Some google-fu will show you that around 65 is the highest you should go to get good MPG. About 65 you are dropping MPG really quickly, and it you increase your drag by 3% for every 1% increase in speed.... do the math.
  TIME=MONEY . thats my equation. doing 90 gets me there almost 40% faster than 65

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rufflesinc said:   
drodge said:   
rufflesinc said:   
drodge said:   He's either straight trolling, or has no concept of physics. Carrying heavy fuel on top of a vehicle is never going to save you money unless you're buying it at a 50% discount somewhere. Not to mention there aren't a lot of places that are going to allow you to return used gas cans and cargo carriers.
  why don't you give some actual numbers of how much 100 lbs lowers mpg

the only things walmart doesn't let you return within 90 days is electronics and airbeds

  Because the burden is yours, you're the one who came up with the harebrained idea.   Anyone who's ever carried anything on the roof knows how much it kills mileage.  

  No, you're the one dismissing it. It works on its face. You claim it doesn't, show that the change in mpg is significant enough

A google shows reduction of 1-2% in mpg for 100 lbs

  
impact of a roof rack is signficant : 

http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1097829_yes-roof-boxes-and-s... 

eta 2nd source : https://www.edmunds.com/fuel-economy/we-test-the-tips-part-ii.ht...
 

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rufflesinc said:   
ryoung81 said:   Drag is going to hurt your MPG, drag is the cube of velocity (speed). Therefore, the slower you drive the better your fuel economy. Some google-fu will show you that around 65 is the highest you should go to get good MPG. About 65 you are dropping MPG really quickly, and it you increase your drag by 3% for every 1% increase in speed.... do the math.
  TIME=MONEY . thats my equation. doing 90 gets me there almost 40% faster than 65

  I don't necessarily disagree, but he did ask how to save money on gas.

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rufflesinc said:   
ryoung81 said:   Drag is going to hurt your MPG, drag is the cube of velocity (speed). Therefore, the slower you drive the better your fuel economy. Some google-fu will show you that around 65 is the highest you should go to get good MPG. About 65 you are dropping MPG really quickly, and it you increase your drag by 3% for every 1% increase in speed.... do the math.
  TIME=MONEY . thats my equation. doing 90 gets me there almost 40% faster than 65

 However, if I get caught, then what I didn't spend in gas I spend in fines.  Also, time=money, unless you are going on vacation, in which case time=(money)

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These aren't bad ideas, but the gross amount of money isn't enough to go to great lengths to save.

The elephant in the room is the $1750 you're spending at IRS rates to drive 3500 miles in the first place.

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This might be dangerous but what I've done a couple times on 3,000mi trips is slightly over inflate the tires. At that time my tires stated 35psi as max & I went to 37psi. I got 5-10% better mileage. But I wouldn't do this while driving others.

My current car mfg sets psi requirements at 32psi. I've owned lots of brands of tires this size all tires said 35psi was the max. My current tires rated #3 out 65 from TireRack states 50psi as max. I might try 40psi on a long solo trip. Probably not. But I would feel comfortable at 37psi.

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Sign up for this roadside-assistance plan ($1 for first 2 months, $250 benefit per incident).  Use slightly different names/addresses and Virtual CC #'s.

http://www.allstatemotorclub.com/amcc/agents/Promotions.faces;js... 

Experience multiple "mechanical breakdowns" on your way to/from your destination.

Have vehicle towed 100 miles per incident, over multiple incidents.

Total cost for gas: $0

Also, if you're stranded at least "100 miles" from home, plan provides up to $1.5k for "trip interruption" expenses (including "transportation"). So all of your hotel/food/non-gas transportation costs will also total $0.

https://www.allstatemotorclub.com/amcc/member_services/Promo.faces?_adf.ctrl-state=9usuuwmqt_4 

One way to work this:

Get a rental.

Drive 101 miles from home (or until rental is almost out of gas)

Experience a "mechanical breakdown."

Have rental towed 100 miles to a repair show.

Pick up another rental.

Stay at a 5-star hotel.

Eat at a fine-dining restaurant.

Drive 2nd rental until it's almost out of gas.

Experience another "mechanical breakdown."

Have 2nd rental towed 100 miles to a repair shop.

Pick up a 3rd rental car.

Stay at a 2nd, 5-star hotel.

Eat at a 2nd, fine-dining restaurant.

Drive 3nd rental until it's almost out of gas.

Experience another "mechanical breakdown."

And so on....
 

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