By Stacy Johnson
As you’re undoubtedly aware, gas prices are spiking – again. And as always happens when gas prices spike, the media will soon begin gushing tired and obvious advice on ways to save.
I’ve been watching, and participating in, this well-worn parade of stories for more than 20 years. But no more. Because while the advice offered is largely sound, it misses the point entirely. Here’s the point: When it comes to gas prices, if you can’t beat ‘em (you can’t), join ‘em (you can).
By way of illustration, here’s an article I wrote the last time gas prices spiked. It was published on Dec. 8, 2010. I reprint it here exactly as it was written. Check it out, then I’ll give you a short update…
28 Ways to Save on Gas You Already Know – And Maybe One You Don’t
The last time you were at the pump, you probably noticed the price of gas is creeping skyward. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), a gallon of unleaded is now averaging $2.95: up 10% in the last year and nearly 4% in just the last month.
Get used to the idea. As the world economy improves, rising world demand for oil, coupled with a weak dollar, virtually guarantees higher prices. Oil yesterday broke the $90/barrel barrier – the highest it’s been since 2008. And some experts are predicting $100/barrel won’t be far behind.
Just as predictable as higher prices at the pump are the plethora of articles you’ll soon start seeing offering advice to save on gas. As you did the last time prices spiked, you’ll see ideas like “shop around,” “slow down,” or “use a gas credit card that offers rebates.” If they sound familiar, that’s because you got them in 2008.
Last week SmartMoney published an article called 3 New Ways to Save on Gas. But I guess they don’t read their own work, because one of their “new” ideas (buying gas from a warehouse club like Sam’s, Costco or BJ’s) was in an article from June 17, 2009, called 7 Ways to Save on Gas.
To save you from having to surf the web for obvious advice, here’s a condensed version recently culled from popular personal finance sites. After you check these out, I’ll tell you the best way to deal with higher gas prices – really.
The 28 ways to save on gas you already know.
- Pay cash (If you get a discount for it – which is rare indeed)
- Fill up at the warehouse club (I know – you told me: twice)
- Shop around (You mean some places have lower prices than others? I never knew that!)
- Slow down (Oh, is that how that works? The slower you go, the less gas you use? Thanks.)
- Take the extra weight out of your car (Good advice – that’s why we gave it years ago.)
- Get a tune-up (See above)
- Get a gas rewards card (See above)
- Get a tire alignment (See above)