Consumer Reports: Save yourself time, money before hitting the road this summer

Before you leave, Consumer Reports has some advice to save money and stay safe before your summer road trip.
Updated: Jun. 10, 2022 at 5:30 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Whether it’s to the beach or the mountains, many of you will be taking a road trip somewhere this summer. But before you leave, Consumer Reports has some advice to save money and stay safe. “When you’re filling up in an unfamiliar place, apps and websites like Gas Guru and Waze can help with real-time prices at nearby gas stations,” Alex Knizek said. He’s the auto editor with Consumer Reports.

And Consumer Reports says you should also consider how you’ll pay for that gas. “While many gas stations will offer a lower price if you pay with cash, a credit card with cash-back rewards on gas could actually be a better deal, especially if paying more on gas than you typically would a month,” Knizek said.

And while you won’t be charged to “check a bag” when road tripping, it is still a good idea to pack light, so your car isn’t heavier and, therefore, less fuel-efficient than it needs to be. “And you can make your car more fuel-efficient by reducing aerodynamic drag! You can take off your roof rack or bike rack if you’re not using them. And don’t hate me, but if you just stick to the speed limit, you’ll save fuel!” said Knizek.

Consumer Reports tests show that cruising at 75 mph instead of 65 mph can cost six mpg or more. And driving the speed limit is also safer.

Speaking of safety, if you have mechanical trouble or a flat tire far from home, you’ll appreciate having roadside assistance, and it may save you money. Paying out of pocket for long-haul towing can run hundreds of dollars, while most roadside assistance plans cost around $35 to $120 per year.

Some newer cars come with roadside assistance for a period, and a few credit cards and auto insurance policies include it. Just make sure you’re covered before you hit the road.