15 Mistakes You Make When Pumping Gasoline

1. Using Premium

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The quickest way to save $.20, $.40 or even more on every single gallon of gas is to use regular gasoline as opposed to premium. According to a survey, people like to “treat their cars to more expensive fuel.” This is an unnecessary expense. Here is what Tom and Ray Magliozzi, the experts on Car Talk, say about premium gasoline: It won’t get you better mileage. It doesn’t have special or extra detergents that are worth the additional cost. Regular gasoline will not damage an engine that claims to require premium petrol. Their statements are supported by the American Petroleum Institute, the American Engine Rebuilders Association and even an anonymous chemist at a major gasoline company. Edmunds, however, says that if your vehicle’s manufacturer “recommends” premium, you can use regular, but if your car “requires” premium, you should, in fact, use the more expensive gas.


2. Not Shopping Around

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Shopping different gas stations is often touted as an underused strategy for saving money at the pump. If you believe burning the gas already in your tank to drive to a pumping station that’s farther away to save a buck or two is worth saving a buck or two, then go for it. If you’re not sure, just calculate how much you are really saving. Multiply the cost of the gasoline at both stations by how many gallons (or liters) your tank holds, assuming you are filling an empty tank. Also calculate the potential for car accidents if you are on the road longer because you are driving farther, and estimate how much gas you’re burning (in money). Okay, we’ll do the math: If you can save $.08/gallon by traveling 4 miles to a different station, and you pump 10 gallons, you save $.80. If fuel costs $2.00/gallon and your car gets 20 mpg, the 8-mile trip will cost $.80. Hmmm.