Since purchasing a diesel, we have been feeling the harsh effects of the recent rise in crude oil prices at the gas pump…ouch! Trying to find ways to save money on fuel, I decided to sign up for a gas card at the local grocery store since I usually do my grocery shopping there. You can save anywhere from .05 to .35 cents/gallon on gas depending on how much you spend in the store.

I wanted to try out my gas card, so I purchased $66 worth of groceries at the grocery store. I received a .05 cent/gallon savings on gas. If I had purchased just $9 more, I could have saved an additional .05 cents/gallon. I had just above 1/2 tank of gas left, so I could really only add 12.613 gallons of diesel. I excitedly looked at my gas receipt after it printed out to see how much I saved: .63 cents off of $48.17. My excitement deflated.

I started doing math in my head and realized that if I filled my tank with a .05 cent/gallon saving, I would save only $1 on a 20-gallon tank. If I filled my tank once a week, I would save only $4/month, or $48/year.

Increase that to .35 cents per gallon and it would be $7 savings/20 gallon fill-up, which could amount to $28 savings/month and $336 savings/year. However, to get .35 savings, I would need to spend $350+ in the store at one time. I don’t think that I have ever spent $350+ in merchandise at the grocery store during one trip.

My average spending is between $175 and $200, which would save me .15 cents per gallon, or $3 savings/fill-up, $12 savings/month, and $144 savings/year. If I want that kind of gas savings on a weekly basis, I would need to increase my shopping, and therefore increase my grocery bill. In the end would I save money? No, I would spend more, just in different categories.

I’ll still use my gas card whenever I shop at the grocery store, but my “savings expectations” will be very low. It can’t hurt to use it, but it’s not really saving me loads of money either. What would save me loads of money would be the precipitous drop of crude oil prices. And with the dollar as low as it is, that is not likely to happen anytime soon. Sigh.

One Comment

  1. Mom, I went through that situation once, too. It is pretty sad to realize the .05 or .10 really dosen’t even make a much of a dent in the total money one saves. I’m impressed with all of your math, though. These kind of situations help us keep our math skills up.

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