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10 Bad Gas Pump Habits That Cost You Hundreds Each Year

These gas pump habits may seem harmless, but they're likely costing you money every time you fill up.

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Topping Off

Topping off your tank when fueling up might not seem like a big deal, but it’s one of the most common mistakes people make at the gas pump.

Over-fueling can damage your engine and reduce performance, according to GasBuddy. Plus, most gas station pumps have vapor recovery systems, which absorb any excess gas that is released once the car is filled to protect the car and environment.

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Fueling on the Wrong Day

Gas prices fluctuate depending on the day of the week. The beginning of the week typically has cheaper gas prices compared to the weekend. So if you’re starting to get low on gas, don’t wait until Friday or Saturday to fuel back up.

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Not Going to the Cheapest Station

It may be more convenient to go to the gas station nearest your house, but that doesn’t mean you’re getting the best deal. There are a wide range of gas price apps and websites to help you locate the cheapest gas in your area.

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gas prices MR.WUTTISAK PROMCHOO/Getty Images

Overlooking Loyalty Programs

Major gas chains like Circle K, Exxon Mobil, Shell and others offer fuel reward programs that can save you money every time you fuel up. If you regularly get your gas at the same station, this might be a good option for you to consider.

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gas tank on emptyGarrett Aitken/Shutterstock

Waiting Too Long to Fuel Up

You should never wait until your gas light comes on to refuel your car. Driving near empty leaves you at risk of being stranded. And running out of gas can damage your vehicle’s fuel pump over time.

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Not Paying With Cash

Many gas stations will offer a reduced rate when paying with cash instead of a credit card. A couple of cents per gallon might not seem like a lot, but over a year that will add up to a lot of savings.

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Buying Premium Gasoline

Premium gasoline can cost 30 percent or more than regular gasoline. That extra cost is often without any added benefit, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Drivers waste more than $2 billion on premium gasoline in 2015, according to AAA.

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Tireswarodom changyencham/Getty Images

Not Inflating Tires Properly

Inflating tires at a gas station usually costs money, but it’s still a good idea to check your tires when fueling up and adding air if needed. Driving with under-inflated tires will greatly depreciate your gas milage.

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credit cardsiStock/Kenishirotie

Not Using a Rewards Credit Card

Many credit cards allow you to choose perks that work best for you, like cash back incentives at gas stations and grocery stores. Check what yours offer.

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Not Checking Card Readers

Card readers at gas stations are a common place for thieves to try and steal banking information. “Criminals attach skimmers — illegal card readers that steal your card numbers — to gas pump payment terminals because they are not manned by employees,” according to MoneyTalksNews.

Before you pump, run a finger over the card reader to check for any irregularities.