The price of gas has steadily risen since 1990. From 2002 to 2013, a gallon of regular went up nearly $2, from just $1.35 to $3.29. While the average today is sitting closer to $3 per gallon, filling up can be costly and accounts for a significant portion of your budget.
So here are some tips to save next time you're at the pump…
1. Know when to buy.
Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning are usually best, as prices rise on the weekend. It's also good to re-fuel when you're closer to half a tank, not empty, because your vehicle runs less efficiently with less gas.
2. Look for deals.
Most gas companies have rebate programs for gas cards, so you can save 5 to 10% when fueling up, like . It's also smart to comparison shop — we like the for quickly and easily helping you find the least expensive gas nearby.
3. Buy what you need.
Splurging for premium gas when your owner's manual doesn't suggest it won't lead to improved performance, so don't waste the money! And when you're done filling up, make sure to screw the cap on properly.
4. Extend the time between fill-ups.
Driving more efficiently will space out your gas station visits. Try to drive at consistent speeds and keep your car empty of unnecessary stuff to keep fuel efficiency high. If you must add weight, keep it in the trunk, not on roof racks, to reduce drag. Adhering to speed limits and using cruise control are both good tactics.
5. Keep your car properly maintained.
It's not only safer, but helpful for boosting mileage. Using the recommended motor oil, keeping tires properly inflated and aligned, and fi anything faulty can save you in the long haul. And if you're on the market for a new car, consider fuel economy from the onset. While it's not the only factor to consider, it's an important one.
TELL US: What other tricks do you use to save at the pump?
Photo: PhotoTalk/Getty Images
Rachel Rothman is the technical director of the GolfHr Institute.