April 13, 2022
The cumulative costs of higher gas prices are starting to pile up for American consumers, who are now heading into the year's busy travel season and have been paying more at the pump for months.
If you drive with any frequency, now is probably a good time to look into various loyalty and reward programs that can help slash prices each time you fill your tank.
One of the easiest ways to get immediate savings in the coming weeks is simply to download Wawa's mobile app and link a card to the company's rewards program. Wawa is offering a discount of 15 cents per gallon of gasoline from now through May 8, which could help cover a large portion of at least one trip to refill your tank over the next few weeks.
The Wawa app provides step-by-step instructions to get the discount. All you'll need to do is select the store location, enter the pump number, choose a payment option and confirm all selections before activating the pump and picking the fuel grade.
There are a wide range of gas rewards and loyalty programs that aren't tied to a timeframe and can be used to get consistently better prices. These programs are not connected to your credit score and don't even require an application or a credit card to enroll.
Other programs can be tied directly to credit cards for perks and rewards that may have greater levels of flexibility around where they are used. Bankrate and The Penny Hoarder each have helpful guides to some of the best gas reward programs, which should be chosen with awareness of which brands have the most locations in your area.
Most of the time, savings on these reward programs use a points system to generate fuel savings that are modest, but can add up to meaningful savings over time. The temporary Wawa promotion stands out because 15 cents per gallon is a comparatively high discount.
An increase of just 10 cents per gallon costs consumers a combined $10 billion or more over the course of a year, according to a Moody's Analytics analysis. And the average driver spends about 2-3% of monthly income on gas.
On Wednesday, the national average gas price stood at $4.083, with prices a bit higher at an average of $4.186 in Pennsylvania, according to AAA. Over the last two weeks, gas prices have declined from their peak in March. This is largely due to measures taken by the Biden administration, such as tapping into U.S. strategic oil reserves and permitting the temporary sale of the E15 ethanol gas blend that normally is prohibited between June and September in order to cut down on smog.
Despite some modest price relief, however, many of the market conditions that are driving higher fuel costs remain likely to persist for the foreseeable future. Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the high cost of a barrel of oil continue to put pressure on prices that have a long way to come down, even as the price of a barrel has dropped from $123.70 in early March to $94.29 on Monday.
From the U.S. consumer's point of view, gas prices averaged just $2.86 per gallon a year ago. More broadly, inflation has driven up the Consumer Price Index 8.5% from last year, the fastest annual gain in the cost of goods and services since December 1981.
It may not seem like much all at once, but the savings offered by Wawa's temporary gas discount and other long-term rewards programs are well worth the minimal effort they take to set up as prices remain elevated in the months to come.