Regardless of where you are going and where you live, you will need to refuel your vehicle regularly. With the exception of electric vehicles, every vehicle needs to stop at a fuel station sooner or later, and the cost to fuel up can vary from state to state and even from one station to another.
Fuel prices can vary depending on several factors:
- The distance that delivery vehicles need to drive to supply fuel to the station
- Staffing costs such as full-serve stations versus self-serve stations
- The grade of fuel being purchased
- Taxes and fees levied on fuel prices
You can determine the lowest fuel price in your area using the following methods:
Method 1 of 2: Use an online fuel price service
You can find information on fuel prices with a simple online search on several websites. While there are fuel price websites for nearly every city in North America, you can find them all in one location on GasBuddy.
Step 1: Navigate to GasBuddy.com. You can also perform a web search for “lowest gas prices” where GasBuddy.com will rank highly.
Click on the GasBuddy website to load it.
Step 2: Input your location. You can search for fuel prices in your area by inputting your city name or your ZIP or postal code in the search box.
Click Search to see the results for regular grade fuel. The gas prices for your area are displayed in ascending order with the lowest fuel price first.
Step 3: Select the desired fuel grade. Click the fuel box beside your location selection to view a drop-down menu of all the different fuel grades available. You can select either regular, mid-grade, or premium gasoline, or diesel fuel.
Click on your desired grade to filter your results for that specific grade of fuel. The results will now reflect only stations with your desired grade of fuel and in ascending order of the cheapest fuel for only that grade.
Step 4: View the results on a map. Beside the drop-down selection for fuel grade, click the “Map” button. A Google Map is displayed with the listed results from the previous page plotted on the map.
Click on the fuel price shown for a location near you. The information will display how recently the posted gas price was reported.
- Note: The listed gas prices on GasBuddy.com are reported by users of the GasBuddy site and mobile app.
Step 5: Select a fuel station with an updated price. Since fuel prices can fluctuate several times per day, select a fuel station that has a price reported within the past few hours.
Stations with price reports more than a day old are likely not to reflect the current price.
Method 2 of 2: Use Google Maps to find the cheapest fuel price in your area
Google Maps is an interactive service that is constantly providing more information than ever. You can find low gas prices in your area using the Google Maps service.
Step 1: Open Google Maps in the web browser. Type in “maps.google.com” in the address bar and press Enter. The website will load with a map focussed on your location.
Step 2: Search for fuel stations. In the search bar on Google Maps, type in ”fuel stations near” plus your city name, and press Enter.
For example, if you are in Milwaukie, Oregon, enter “fuel stations near Milwaukie, OR” to see results in your area.
- Tip: To narrow down the results even further, you can search for fuel stations near your ZIP code instead of your city name.
Fuel stations in your area will be displayed on the map. Some fuel stations have their pump price for regular gasoline listed under their location and name on the map.
Step 3: Locate the pump with the cheapest price. Zoom in closer to your location on the map to find a station with the lowest price near you. Look for a listed price lower than the others in your area.
Pick the pump with the lowest price and go there immediately to get the posted gas price.
- Tip: Consider the distance from your location when selecting a fuel station. If you find a fuel price 5 cents cheaper at a station 10 miles out of your way, it will not benefit you to go to that station. Select a station along your route with the lowest price.
Even if you save yourself just a few dollars per visit to the gas station, it adds up over the course of the year. Every year, gas prices seem to keep going up, and by finding the cheapest gas prices, you can spend less money on gas and reduce your overall fuel consumption.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Find the Lowest Gas Prices in Your Area and was authored by Jason Unrau.