How Far Out Of Your Way Are You Willing To Travel To Save A Few Pennies On Gas?

We may earn a commission from links on this page.

When I was growing up, my mom would regularly drive several miles out of her way to buy gas for a few pennies cheaper per gallon as opposed to going to, say, the station around the block. It was crazy! But, before apps and websites like GasBuddy, my mom was far from alone. Obsessing over gas like this in the Midwest in the 1990s (when everything was still good) was how way some people passed the time.

I’m sure it’s probably no different where you live. Part of the fun I think is that no one ever seemed to know who determined the actual gas prices, and why. Big-picture stuff is pretty easy to figure out: if OPEC cuts their output, you could expect gas prices to rise. But what about on the granular level? Why is one station selling gas for $1.54 a gallon and the station across the street is selling it for $1.52? When I got a job at a convenience store after college I asked my manager—who had managed many, many gas stations—who determined the price of gas.

I had been wondering this for probably my entire life.

“We just kind of made it up,” he said.

What the hell.

Anyway, please tell me all of your most ridiculous and obsessive stories of the lengths you or your friends and family go to save money on gas. I’m told that the situation in the Midwest is a bit less dire these days, and people have a bit more to talk about. But I know there are obsessives still out there, who won’t quit until they’ve saved enough money on gas to buy a can of soda, no matter how much fuel they burn looking.