Emergency Money Can Be a Gas Station Away

The search for an emergency fund

Millions of Americans are looking for emergency money and one of the best ways to do it is to look at your local gas station. Gas prices are inflated and contribute a major portion of monthly expenses for millions of Americans. For anyone looking to cut back, here are some inside secrets gas station owners keep hidden.

How prices at a gas station go up

On average, gas stations earn about 10 to 15 cents per gallon of gas sold. When the price of oil is highest, gas stations earn the least. Though that is contrary to what you would think, the reason is because when fuel increases in price, gas stations have to compensate to remain competitive. They have to bring their prices down and as a result earn a lower return on the dollar.

Another large expense in the world of a gas station is the fees credit card companies charge. On average the fees add up to about 2.5% of the overall purchase. For example, if gas is $2 per gallon, the gas station pays credit companies 5 cents a gallon. If gas goes up to $3 per gallon, that fee goes up to 7.5 cents a gallon—more than half their profit.

The question of whose gas is better for an engine

A lot of gas stations profess to have the “best” gas for an engine. Chevron stations claim that their gas is made with “Techron”, a chemical that cleans your gas tank and helps cut back on pollution. Additives can help to clean your engine and bring down the amount of exhaust, but the reality is that all gas, regardless of the price, has a cleanser. Since 1994 government regulations have required detergents be added to gasoline to help unclog fuel injectors. AAA spokesman Geoff Sundstrom confirmed that by stating, “There is little difference between brand-name gas and any other. Saving emergency money is easy to save for consumers willing to consistently use regular gas and forgo the premium.”

Gauging a gallon can be inaccurate

It’s a good question to ask if you really are getting a gallon when the meter says you are. States and counties have regulators who come around and make sure pumps are accurate, but the number of pumps versus regulators is disproportionate. For example, in Arizona there are estimated to be over 2,300 gas stations but the state employs only 18 staff members to regulate them. In the state there were over 2,000 public complaints about the accuracy of a gallon at various gas stations and research showed that 30% of those complaints were valid. With a lack of a man-force to check them, however, it is up to the consumer to be careful. One of the easiest things to do is make sure a pump registers zero before you start to use it. Also, watch for jumps in the price as you pump your gas.

Finding extra savings in a difficult economy

Gas is a huge expense to most Americans today and finding small ways to save can considerably build up emergency money funds. Though the price of gas is unstable, consumers who know the inside secrets of gas station owners, can act accordingly and still save. Cutting back on gas expense for a full month can mean the difference between going over budget and staying within its limits.

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