How to Be the Queen of Getting Gas in the Morning

Don't panic the next morning you see your gas gauge on E and you're in a hurry - there are plenty of solutions when you are in need of fuel

Premiium Or Regular Gas
Do you really need premium gas? Photo: Terri Marshall

“I’ll Fill Up in the Morning.”

Famous last words upon seeing the needle on your gas gauge creeping toward empty. You’re on your way home, and you’re tired. Maybe you have kids or groceries in the car, and the thought of whining or melting ice cream is just a little too much of a reality. Perhaps you intended to stop to get gas, and the next thing you know, you’re sitting in your driveway because your car and brain went on autopilot. Now you’re stuck with getting gas in the morning when you’re probably running late. 

It happens to the best of us.

Despite our best intentions, we inevitably forget that we must get gas in the morning until we push the button to start the ignition and realize we don’t have enough fuel to get where we’re going. While being the queen of busy morning gas stops might not be a title you want to cash in on regularly, it’s a useful skill when you’re in a pinch. Here are some ways to be the queen of getting gas in the morning.

Related: Here’s How to Get Better Gas Mileage In Any Car

Premiium Or Regular

Throwback to those times when premium gas was not as expensive as it is now. Photo: Terri Marshall

It’s OK Not to Be OK

Whether you’re a mom and your kids and mile-long to-do list got the best of you, or a work project or impromptu happy hour catchup session with a friend you haven’t seen in a while distracted you from your plans to stop and fill up your car, don’t beat yourself up because you forgot to do something. It’s not the end of the world, so take a deep breath and a minute to do a mini-strategy session.

Is your first priority to get to the pumps ASAP to avoid being stranded on the side of the road, or do you need to take a minute and make some notifications? Is your extra stop going to result in a room full of people tapping their toes and checking their watches because you’re late, or is your morning schedule more chill? And, unless your child is late for their SATs, a delayed arrival will probably not have far-reaching consequences. Yes, it’s an annoying, frustrating situation nobody likes, but take a minute to regroup and refresh your perspective.

Related: Apps to Find the Best Gas Prices Near You

Captains Chairs Are Available On All But Two Trim Levels. Photo: Jill Robbins

Do you have enough gas to get where you’re going? Photo: Jill Robbins

But First, Can You Make It?

Most people live in populated enough areas where they can coast to a gas station without turning the situation into a roadside emergency. If you live in a more rural area or doubt your ability to make it somewhere – anywhere – to get gas, then you might need to activate your “phone a friend with a gas can” contingency plan.

Related: the Wild and Wonderful 2024 Alfa Romeo Tonale AWD PHEV

A Girls Guide To Cars | How To Be The Queen Of Getting Gas In The Morning - Gas Gauge Mkt

Knowing how many miles are left on the tanks helps when you read the gas gauge incorrectly. Photo: AGGTC

What If It’s Not Your Fault?

If you share the driving with other adults or teen drivers in your household, there will probably be times when you slide behind the wheel and get an unpleasant surprise. And no, I’m not talking about someone messing with your seat and mirror settings or leaving the radio on full blast to a station that’s not your vibe; I mean another driver in your house leaving you high and dry.

If you have another car with a fuller tank available and can make a quick switch and let your empty tank become someone else’s problem, that’s the quick and easy solution to get you moving. Otherwise, playing the blame game or getting upset with the guilty party will cost you time and effort you probably don’t have. Vow to be mad later. For now, be the boss you are and get it done. 

Better communication might prevent a repeat if your partner left you in the lurch. If it’s a teen or inexperienced driver, it might be time to assess the ground rules, such as establishing a driving contract or other formal means of laying out expectations for house rules on using the car.

Probably One Of The Top Driver-Friendly Cars I'Ve Test Driven. Photo: Jill Robbins

Sometimes, you just have to smile if you’re out of gas. Photo: Jill Robbins

The One Time Saving Money Might Not Be the Priority

I said what I said. I know we’re hardwired to look for low-priced fuel, and purposely overspending at the pumps goes against that narrative. We buy our gas at Costco, which is usually between 10 and 20 percent cheaper than other gas stations. The nearest Costco is eight miles from my house, which isn’t a lot, but it’s not on our way anywhere and is always a planned stop.

When plans fail, going eight miles out of my way because I’m late and need gas immediately isn’t an option, and I know I will pay more. I suck up the extra cost, which isn’t fun, and I resolve to be better prepared in the future. If my life had a narrator, this is where they’d say, “She was, in fact, not better prepared for the future,” and all of this probably surprises no one who knows me.

Dodge Caravan Low Fuel Warning Time To Find Cheap Gas

The low fuel warning: when this comes on, it’s time to worry about how far you must drive to find gas. Photo AGGTC

Give Yourself Permission Not to Worry About the Price – Just This Once

Bottom line, if you’re late and you forgot to get gas, save time and take some stress off your plate by giving yourself permission to not worry about the price, just this one time. If it works for you, put in a quarter or half a tank to get where you’re going and make a more budget-conscious fuel stop when you are not pressed for time.

A Girl’s Guide to Cars Founder and Editor in Chief Scotty Reiss suggests keeping it simple by searching for nearby gas stations in Google Maps. “Just add a few gallons and fill up later.”

You Can Get Better Gas Mileage And Be Happy About Getting Gas Again.

There are lots of apps to help you find where to buy gas. Photo: Maria Smith

Apps – They’re Your Friend

There’s an app for everything, including finding the closest gas station and comparing prices before you roll up to the pump. A Girl’s Guide to Cars Contributor Kim Smith recommends Upside. The Upside app, free to download, helps you earn cash back on gas, food, and other purchases. When you set up your profile, you can select what type of gas you use to quickly compare prices for what’s available in your area. Enable location settings while you’re using the app to help you quickly find fuel.

You can also use your Upside app to pay, and we appreciate a good timesaver when we’re already in a hurry. The reward comes as cashback to your PayPal or bank account.

The Costco App Shows Gas Its Station Locations And Prices; This Is A Great Place To Get Cheap Gas. Photo: Scotty Reiss

The Costco app shows gas station locations and prices; this is a great place to get cheap gas. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Your Favorite Gas Station Has An App

If you’re loyal to a particular gas station, download the app to help you manage reward points and other benefits as well as help you rapidly locate the nearest gas station, although this might be of minimal help when you’re in your neighborhood or another area you’re hyper familiar with because you probably already know the location. You can cover all of your bases by joining multiple reward programs and having the apps downloaded and ready to go when you need them. Most of these programs are free to join.

I have Walmart+ – truth time, I got it for the Paramount+ subscription because I’m a fan of all things Taylor Sheridan and the Yellowstone franchise – but it offers an in-app gas discount feature for Walmart and Murphy gas stations. I save 5-10% on gas purchases, which is on par with my usual fuel spot, Costco.

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Sometimes, sharing the car keys with your teen can be scary! Photo: Rebecca Darling

Sometimes, Going Big is the Answer

“I look for the large stations that have lots of pumps versus the small places where I might have to wait,” says A Girl’s Guide to Cars writer Erica Mueller.

Waiting in line at the pumps when you’re already stressed out about being late adds more frustration to the experience, so finding a fuel spot with many pumps may get you in and out faster. 

If you are driving through Texas and you’re near Buc-ee’s, known for being the world’s largest gas station, you might be in luck. Otherwise, if you’re stuck at the pump, take a deep breath and multitask while you’re waiting. Finish applying your makeup, make calls, check your email, or catch up on a podcast.

When you are in a hurry, it always seems like the person in front of you has never pumped gas before, ever. This isn’t something you can control, and getting frustrated won’t help. Use the extra time to do something productive or pleasant.

A Girls Guide To Cars | How To Be The Queen Of Getting Gas In The Morning - Hyundautucsonphev Kymri

Get a PHEV and eliminate the need for early a.m. gas runs. Photo: Kymri Wilt

The Ultimate Solution to Getting Gas in a Hurry: Go Electric

Another solution is eliminating the need for gas altogether – making your next car electric. More and more auto brands are not only jumping on the electric bandwagon but are fine-tuning their electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) technology. Even Jeep Wrangler.

If you’re not ready to go fully electric, the current market has almost endless choices for PHEV. Depending on your daily driving habits and the charging stations available in your area, you may be able to get the bulk of your everyday driving done on an electric charge and save your gas-powered motor for longer trips.

Once you go electric or even PHEV, you’ll get into the habit of charging your car overnight – just as simple as the habit of putting your phone on the charger before you go to bed – and those unpleasant moments of realizing you should have filled up yesterday will be but a memory.

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Jill is the oldest mom with the youngest kids pretty much everywhere she goes. She has a 29-year-old daughter... More about Jill Robbins