When we originally hit the road, fuel was one of our biggest expenses. I wish I could say that has improved, but with the way gas prices are today, it has only become a bigger expense. We are always looking for ways to save money on gas.
We’re asked often how the price of gas has impacted our travels. I would honestly say that it has a minimal impact on our experience traveling, but we have changed our route a few times (6 times to be exact). We take fewer detours, are more intentional with our trips to the grocery store, and have changed our outlook on the year.
Before we go over how we save money on gas, let’s talk about how much gas truly costs us. We have one vehicle, a diesel ram 2500, that gets approximately 17mpg when not towing. When we are towing, or moving, we get approximately 11mpg.
When we left Connecticut back at the beginning of 2021, diesel was around $2 per gallon. That means it costs us approximately 12 cents per mile to drive around, and approximately 18 cents per mile to move our house.
Diesel fuel is now, on average, around $5.50 per gallon.
It now costs us 33 cents to drive our truck 1 mile down the road and a whopping 50 cents to move our house 1 mile.
So, how do we save money on gas?
You better believe we feel the impact of these fuel prices. We have minimized the impact as much as we can, but there’s no way around it — these gas prices hurt.
The first thing we did to save money on gas was to adjust our mindset. You need to figure out how much it costs you, per mile, to drive your vehicle. When you think about going to Walmart or Target, think about the cost it takes to get there. Minimize the number of times you need to go there by making a comprehensive list. Try to limit your grocery trips to once per week. This has helped us immensely. It sounds obvious, but the less you drive your vehicle, the more you will save! Even if we drive our truck down the road, it costs us 33 cents per mile! That adds up quickly.
Other than changing habits, how can you really save money on gas?
The next thing we did was to capitalize on our gas cards, cashback apps, and fuel-saving programs. This is likely the nitty-gritty you’re looking for as most people don’t want to change their habits and are looking for a more tangible way to save money.
In order to save money on gas, we utilize three different fuel programs; GasBuddy Premium, Upside, & TSD Logistics.
The best part of two of these programs, GasBuddy & Upside, is that they can be used at the same time. Double dip for savings and cashback rewards! Love it!
GasBuddy Premium – is it worth it?
We have been GasBuddy premium subscribers since before we hit the road. The cost is $9.99 per month. You need to consider how often you fill your tank to decide whether or not you will save at least $9.99 per month to recoup your subscription costs. Typically, however, we save at least 20 cents per gallon with this membership. Below is a screenshot of our lifetime savings from GasBuddy. We joined in July 2020, approximately 22 months ago. This means that, on average, we have saved approximately $14 per month. After the subscription costs, we are saving approximately $4 per month, or $48 per year, by being GasBuddy premium subscribers. GasBuddy frequently does bonus savings at select gas stations. Be on the lookout for these because they can save you up to 40 cents per gallon! You must activate the deal prior to filling up, and once you activate the deal you have 4 hours to complete the transaction but they are well worth traveling a little bit off your path for!
Another big perk of the GasBuddy premium card is you can use it at the truck stop diesel lanes. This is a massive benefit when we are traveling with our house. Of course, we have a better solution for some truck stops, but this is our go-to choice for stops at Pilot’s. The only drawback is they implement a daily limit on how much you can spend. Lately, however, I have noticed the limit is more than $125. If you have a Class A motorhome or something with a larger tank, you may hit the limit, but we are still able to fill our 27 gallon tank without hitting it. We don’t typically let our tank get too low, maybe 1/4 tank, so I’m guessing the limit is somewhere around $125-$150. Of course, this may change if gas prices ever drop in price as it was $75 when we first hit the road.
Get Upside? Now known as Upside!
Upside is a new kid on the block. It costs nothing to join but has already surpassed GasBuddy in savings. Of course, we won’t ditch GasBuddy since we are saving money with it, but Upside is the icing on the cake.
Think of Upside as a cash-back program. Unlike GasBuddy, you do not see a discount at the pump. Instead, you receive pennies per gallon back that you can either transfer to your bank account or redeem as a gift card to several retailers.
The best part about these two programs is that they are different. This means you can double dip! You can use them both to save at the pump AND get money back.
Upside also has several restaurants and grocery stores where you can also get cashback – including Burger King, if you’re into fast food. Below is a chart showing just a few of the nationwide retailers they work with, but there are many more local options as well!
So far, the cashback isn’t as substantial at gas stations as the savings from GasBuddy. It is typically around 3 cents back per gallon spent. There’s also a little more work involved.
Prior to filling up, you must click “claim offer” when you find a gas station that offers cashback. Once you click this, you have four hours to fuel up. When you arrive at the gas station, you then must click “check-in.” This step is a bit more forgiving because if you forget, you will simply need to upload a receipt. Of course, uploading a receipt slightly delays the cashback process, but I have done it a few times successfully. Once you click check-in, they give you approximately 20 minutes to complete the transaction. Upside is continuously monitoring your card accounts to look for this transaction so there’s nothing more you need to do unless they request a receipt.
Upside really shines at other retailers and grocery stores. Recently, we claimed an offer for 12% back at Schnuck’s. We received $13 back and all we had to do was click a few buttons in the mobile app. The cashback offers vary by retailer, but I have seen them upwards of 20%! Amazing!
If you’re interested in Upside, please use our referral link! We both benefit from you using our link as you receive a bonus cashback offer on your first usage! For us, this bonus equaled approximately $5. In all transparency, the referral program for Upside could be very lucrative – even for you! The more people you refer, the more you receive in cashback. You receive a bonus of 1 cent back per gallon for each person you refer. I’m not sure if there is a cap to this, but as you can imagine you can end up saving a ton if you spread the word about this cost savings app!
TSD Logistics – “Open Roads” Every RVer must get this card!
If you own a diesel truck or RV and don’t have the TSD Logistics (now known as Open Roads) card, go get it.
It is free. 100% free. There is no reason not to have it, but plenty of cost savings to be had if you do have it.
Open Roads is a card that allows you to pay at any truck lane pump (think Love’s, Pilot, TA etc..) and get a massive discount on fuel. Be careful though! You don’t want to use this card at Pilot, or any other out-of-network station, because you’ll actually end up paying more for diesel. Not only will you pay the advertised price, but you will also pay a $1 fee to do so. In these cases, use your GasBuddy card for up to 20 cents off per gallon.
The Open Roads links to your bank account and takes a few days to settle on your account. There’s a mobile app, Open Roads, that shows you what price you will pay. Similar to GasBuddy and Upside, you can see the prices all over the map. There’s nothing more you need to do other than make sure you use your Open Roads card at the pump. After a day or so, you will receive a receipt showing how much you saved. It’s as simple as that.
In order to maximize your savings, you need to have many options!
As you can see, we have many options for savings. While none will amount to gas prices declining back to normal, we can at least use these programs to help out a little bit. What programs do you use?
Are you looking to save money on campground fees? Check out this post!