The average price of gas is rising steadily, having jumped 17 cents per gallon in the past month to an average of $4.12 for the greater Hartford area. A gallon of gas costs 30 cents more than it did one year ago in late September 2011.
Looking for relief from high prices? Patch reached out to its community of users, asking them to share their strategies for saving money at the pump. We’re passing along those tips to help you keep some money in your wallet the next time you fill up.
One of the most popular suggestions was to cross the border into Massachusetts to save on gas, as fuel prices in the Bay State are steadily lower than in Connecticut. While this isn't always feasible, it can create significant savings, especially if you're close to the border already.
“We will regularly drive the extra 5-plus miles or so north into Massachusetts to get our gas. It is consistently a lot cheaper than in Granby or Simsbury (where we live), and is worth the quick detour,” wrote Jason Black in an email to Patch.
The current average price in Massachusetts is $3.91, according to gasbuddy.com, 22 cents less per gallon than in Connecticut. A graph comparing prices in the two states during the past year shows gasoline consistently between 20 to 30 cents cheaper in Massachusetts.
A majority of comments about saving money suggested joining a free rewards program through a local supermarket, with Stop & Shop and Big Y the two most popular choices.
The Stop & Shop program gives participants one point for every dollar spent and 10 cents off each gallon per 100 points earned. Shell gas stations and Stop & Shop’s own gas stations participate in the program. Discounts of up to $2.20 per gallon are available although points earned expire after 30 days. Learn more about the Stop & Shop program and find participating gas stations here.
Big Y’s program offers 5 cents off each gallon of gas at participating stations — locations in the area include Avon and West Hartford Mobil stations — with the supermarket’s silver coins or by showing a Silver Savings Club card (which costs $20 per year). Gold coins from Big Y save 20 cents per gallon.
“[I] go to Massachusetts and fill up at the Shell station in Southwick, where I can get gas points!” Canton Patch user Karen Gradischer exclaimed on the Canton Patch Facebook page.
More than a few responders suggested doubling up on savings by using a gas savings program and driving into Massachusetts.
“I use my Stop & Shop points at the Shell in Southwick,” said Rachel Haywood on The Granbys Patch Facebook page. “You get the Massachusetts discount plus the Stop & Shop points. For me, it’s usually a $15 to $20 discount every two weeks!”
The Farmington Valley has some of the most expensive gas in the area, according to gasbuddy.com. Notably, the Shell station in Farmington at 342 Colt Highway ranks among the state’s most expensive, with a gallon of regular costing $4.39 Wednesday, so going just outside of the area may help. But the Valero on Route 4 across from the highlands was reported as having gas at $4.09 and the stations along Route 10 by Plainville usually have lower prices.
“We're also big fans of the Stop & Shop savings card thing — but when we use it, we drive over to their gas station in Bloomfield to fill up, since their prices are already cheaper to begin with!” Black said. “And, if that discount hits 30 cents per gallon, it really adds up quick.”
Besides crossing the border and signing up for discount programs, Canton Patch user Jill Cabane passed along this advice.
“Don't buy gas in Canton!” Cabane emphasized. “Use your [supermarket] points and drive the speed limit on the highways. Speeding uses more fuel.”