Have you been feeling the pinch at the pump recently? Gas prices seem to keep going nowhere but up. While there’s not much you can do about the overall trend, you don’t have to feel completely powerless. Believe it or not, there are a few clever ways to score some free fuel and get free gas.
Before you resign yourself to paying whatever the asking price is, check out these tips to keep more money in your wallet and more gas in your tank. With a little ingenuity and some strategic planning, you’ll be cruising down the road enjoying your free fill-ups in no time. Who knows, you might even start to look forward to your next trip to the gas station!
The True Cost of Gasoline
The cost of gas these days is outrageous, but the real price we pay is far more than what’s shown at the pump. Each gallon of gasoline comes with hidden fees that threaten our environment, health, and communities.
Burning gasoline releases toxic pollutants like nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide into the air we breathe. It also produces greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide that contribute to global warming and climate change. The emissions from a single gallon of gas can pollute up to 25,000 liters of air. Sadly, low-income and minority neighborhoods are often located near highways and refineries, so they bear the brunt of these fumes.
Exposure to gasoline and its vapors, especially benzene, can cause cancer and other serious health issues like asthma, heart disease, and damage to the nervous system. The toxic chemicals found in gas seep into soil and groundwater, contaminating water supplies and the food chain.
Our dependence on oil for fuel weakens our economy by making us vulnerable to price gouging by oil companies and unstable foreign suppliers. It also reduces money spent in our local communities. According to estimates, for every $1 spent on gas, only about 10 cents stays in the local economy.
The impacts of our gasoline addiction are sobering but the good news is we have the power to make better choices. Using alternative fuels, improving fuel efficiency, and reducing single-occupancy vehicle trips can all help decrease the demand for gas and make the air safer for everyone to breathe. Our wallets, health, and planet will thank us.
The Downside of Gas Station Rewards Programs
Gas station rewards programs seem like an easy way to save on fuel, but the reality is a bit more complicated. ###
While many stations offer cents off per gallon for using their loyalty cards, the discounts often only apply to regular unleaded gas. If you drive a vehicle that requires midgrade or premium fuel, the savings vanish. The points or rewards you earn also typically expire quickly, sometimes in just a month or two.
Another downside is that these programs frequently require you to provide personal information like your name, address, email, and vehicle details to enroll. The companies claim they don’t sell or share your data, but there have been cases where loyalty program information was compromised in data breaches.
- Do some math. Calculate how much you save per fill-up and year based on the rewards rate and your vehicle’s needs. For most drivers, it’s less than $50 annually.
- Check if rewards expire. Make sure you understand any expiration policy before signing up. Short timeframes mean you have to fill up frequently to use your points.
- Guard your information. Only provide the minimum details needed to enroll in the program. Be wary of providing sensitive data like your Social Security number.
- Compare against other options. You may find greater savings using a cashback credit card for gas purchases, buying discounted gift cards, or even getting a warehouse club membership.
While small discounts are better than nothing, gas station rewards programs are not the most effective way to slash your fuel costs. With a little research, you can likely find alternative money-saving methods that put more green back in your wallet.
Earning Cash Back on Gas With Credit Cards
One of the easiest ways to get free gas is through credit card rewards programs. Many popular cards offer significant cash back on fuel purchases that can really add up over time.
Chase Freedom Flex
The Chase Freedom Flex card provides 5% cash back on up to $6,000 in gas station purchases each year. That works out to $300 back if you max out the bonus. The card also gives 5% back on travel and 3% on dining, with 1% on all other purchases. There’s no annual fee and you can redeem your cash back for statement credits, gift cards, or direct deposit into a bank account.
Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card
Bank of America’s Cash Rewards card provides 3% cash back at gas stations and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter. You’ll earn 1% on everything else. There’s no annual fee and you can redeem your cash rewards back as a statement credit, direct deposit, or check.
Citi Double Cash Card
The Citi Double Cash Card is a straightforward but generous option. You’ll earn 1% cash back when you make a purchase, plus another 1% as you pay for those purchases. So in total, you get 2% cash back on all your spending, including fuel. There are no caps, categories, or expiration dates to keep track of. You can redeem for gift cards, travel, merchandise, or convert to ThankYou points. This card also comes with no annual fee.
Other options to consider include co-branded gas station cards like the Shell Fuel Rewards Card or Speedway Speedy Rewards card. While these typically only provide savings on fuel at a particular station, the perks can include discounts of up to $0.30/gallon. Every little bit helps when it comes to saving money on gas!
Get Free Gas Vouchers From Surveys and Promotions
One of the easiest ways to score free gas is by completing surveys and promotions offered by gas stations and fuel brands. Many stations frequently offer giveaways and vouchers to build brand loyalty and get customer feedback.
Take Online Surveys
Gas stations like Shell, Exxon, BP, and Sunoco often email surveys to customers or have links on their websites. Complete a short survey about your experience at the pump or in their convenience store and you’ll typically get a code for a few dollars off per gallon on your next fill-up or even a voucher for a free tank of gas.
Check your email and the websites of stations you frequent for survey links. Fill them out honestly and thoroughly for the best chance of getting a reward.
Look for Promo Codes and Coupons
In addition to surveys, many fuel companies release monthly promo codes and coupons that can be redeemed for gas vouchers or discounts. You may find these on the station’s website, newsletters, coupon sites like RetailMeNot and DealsPlus, or by searching online for “[gas station name] promo code”.
Popular codes include things like “10 cents off per gallon” or “5 dollars in free gas”. Be sure to check the terms to see if there’s a minimum fill-up required and the expiration date.
Get a Free Gas Card for Your Birthday
Some stations like Shell, BP, and ExxonMobil offer free birthday rewards for members of their fuel rewards programs. Link your rewards account to your birthday, and you’ll get an email with a code for 5 to 20 dollars in free gas during the week of your birthday.
Sign up for the rewards program of your preferred station. Provide your name, email, and birthday to start receiving the yearly free gas on your special day.
With some simple actions like taking a few surveys, hunting for the latest promo codes, and signing up for birthday rewards, you’ll be well on your way to scoring free tanks of gas and discounts at your favorite fuel stops. Fill ‘er up!
Hacking Gas Stations for Unlimited Free Fuel
One way to get free gas is by taking advantage of gas station promotions and rewards programs. Many stations offer free items like coffee, snacks or car washes when you fill up, or cents off per gallon when you buy a certain amount. Some also have loyalty programs where you can earn points or get a discount for every fill up.
Another method is checking station apps and sites for coupons and promo codes. Some stations release weekly digital coupons for 5-10 cents off per gallon or a free item with fill up. You may have to sign up for their mailing list to get the codes, but the savings can add up over time.
If there’s a station you frequent often, get to know the staff and managers. Politely ask if they offer any loyalty programs or ways to save on gas. Sometimes stations provide courtesy cards, punch cards or have weekly specials they don’t always advertise. Building a good relationship with employees at your preferred station means they’ll be more likely to share insider tips for getting the best deal.
Some Final Tips on How to Get Free Gas:
- Pay in cash since some stations charge a higher price for credit card users to offset processing fees. The difference can be up to 10 cents per gallon.
- Fill up at off-peak times like evenings or weekends when stations are less busy. Stations are more likely to drop prices during non-peak hours to attract customers.
- Check sites like GasBuddy before you fill up to find the cheapest gas prices in your area. Every cent you can save per gallon adds up over time.
- Ask about any student or military discounts. Many stations offer special lower prices for those groups.
With some digging and persistence, you can uncover many opportunities for getting free or discounted fuel. So start researching, get to know your local stations, and enjoy the rewards of lower gas costs.
So there you have it, some easy ways to fill up your tank for free. Whether you choose to get rewarded for your regular fill-ups, take advantage of cash-back credit cards, or leverage gas station promotions and loyalty programs, you’ll be cruising down the highway without worrying about how much that meter is running.
The next time you pull up to the pump, keep these tips in mind—your wallet will thank you, and you just might get addicted to the thrill of free fuel. Who knew saving money on gas could be so rewarding? Now get out there and start racking up those rewards and savings. The open road is calling your name, and the tank is on us!