Market Overview

5 Costly Mistakes Drivers Make At The Gas Pump

5 Costly Mistakes Drivers Make At The Gas Pump

Now that oil and gasoline prices have started to creep back up, drivers are looking for any way they can to save a few cents at the pump.

GasBuddy analyst Patrick DeHaan recently compiled a list of the five most common ways people waste money on gasoline. According to DeHaan, if you aren’t smart about your gas purchases, you could be wasting more money than you realize.

Here’s a rundown of the top five costly mistakes drivers are making at the pump.

1. Choosing Convenience

Nearly four out of every five drivers go to the same gas station almost every time they fill up, and 38 percent say that routine happens due to convenience.

“The station two blocks away could be 20-40 cents per gallon lower in price, and while that’s only a few dollars’ difference per fill-up, it amounts to the hundreds of dollars per year you could be saving if you shop around,” DeHaan said.

2. Driving on Empty

Instead of stopping for gas when they see a good price, GasBuddy says 28 percent of drivers wait to fill up until their gas light comes on. At that point, your options are limited to the closest locations rather than the stations with the lowest prices.

3. Easy Entrance

When it comes to convenience, drivers are lazy about more than just a station’s location. Instead of thinking about dollars and cents, GasBuddy found that 16 percent of drivers choose the gas station that's easiest to get in to.

4. Paying With Plastic

GasBuddy found that 69 percent of drivers pay for gas with a credit or debit card rather than cash. While many cards offer special deals or cash back rates on gas purchases, it’s up to the drivers to determine if the deals offset the higher cost per gallon that many stations charge.

5. Upgrading

While most consumers choose regular gas, GasBuddy found that 8 percent choose premium gasoline and 5 percent choose mid-grade. DeHaan says drivers choosing premium gasoline should make sure they understand that cars only need premium gasoline if their car manual says they need it.

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