Giving it the Gas

Where does your money go when you buy gasoline? In 2010, 68 percent of every gallon of gas went toward the price of crude oil; 12 percent went to state and federal taxes; 7 percent covered the cost of refining crude into gasoline; and 10 percent was earmarked for distribution and marketing expenses [source: U.S. Energy Information Administration] .

Tips for the Tech-savvy

Looking for a gas station when you're on the road is nothing short of painful, especially if you have screaming kids in the backseat. And if you're looking for the cheapest gas, well multiply that frustration by 1,000. Thank goodness for the 21st century. Our connected society has made it infinitely easier to do many things, including finding the cheapest gas. When you're on a road trip, take your latest gadgets and follow these tips:

  • Check the Web -- If you're on the road make sure you're connected, either through a mobile device or Wi-Fi (some newer cars come equipped with a wireless Internet connection -- so cool). When the tank is low, check out GasBuddy.com and FuelMeUp.com. These sites study trends across the country and can direct you to the cheapest gas [source: Schultz].
  • Choose your apps -- If you don't know your app from a hole in the ground, expect to pay a premium for gasoline. Within the past year, the number of mobile gas apps has swelled. The apps use your smartphone's GPS to locate the cheapest fuel using information provided by other penny-pinchers. GasBuddy is one of the more popular apps. There are versions for Android, iPhone, BlackBerry and Windows 7. Those who use the apps say it's easy to save 20 cents a gallon without driving great distances out of the way [source: Yu].
  • Onboard systems -- GPS and other navigation systems can point the way to cheap gas. Some satellite radio systems have a travel data feature that can link you to price information as you drive. Just type in a ZIP code and fill'er up.