Did those sudden oil price hikes the past few weeks catch you by surprise? What about the sudden jump in prices of almost everything else that suddenly followed?
If you’re like most working Americans who already need to stretch their budgets almost all the time, then those price hikes were definitely a huge blow.
Its impact, however, is much heavier on people from low-income families and other individuals who may have already needed financial assistance before these events happened. That’s where a free gas card comes in.
Taking part in a gasoline assistance program may be able to help ease the burden of these oil price hikes. It will help you stretch your budget so you can get to work and run your errands with some peace of mind.
Here we’ve compiled a list of places where you can get free gas vouchers that may prove useful if you need help with gas money. We’ve also added in a few tips on how you can maximize your gas so you don’t need to spend as much on it.
What Is a Free Gas Card?
As unbelievable as it may sound, free gas cards do exist. These vouchers were designed specifically to help people from low-income families, disabled individuals, senior citizens, families with children, and other disadvantaged members of society.
According to the US Census Bureau, there were 37.2 million people living in poverty in the country in 2020 alone. During that same period, the average annual income and the number of people working full-time went down by 1.2% and 13.7%, respectively.
With the effects of the pandemic and the recent oil price hikes, these figures have undoubtedly gone up. The impact of these developments weighs heavier on the disadvantaged.
Fortunately, there are various local churches, online platforms, and other non-profit organizations that offer a gasoline assistance program. There are also local community action agencies that provide gas cards specifically for emergencies.
The conditions and qualifications for you to get gas cards may vary per organization, so keep reading to find out how each program works.
Where Can You Get a Free Gas Card?
Here’s a list of organizations, charities, and websites where you may be able to get a free gas card.
1. Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is one of the most prominent organizations that give out free gas cards to people who come from low-income families. They operate across the entire nation and assist families who need help by distributing resources, such as food, clothing, and toys.
Keep in mind, however, that their funding is limited. This means that only a few people who apply for a slot receive the assistance they need. Some of those who are prioritized are individuals who need financial help for:
- attending a doctor’s appointment
- going to school
- applying for a job
During the application process, the Salvation Army may ask you for proof of your financial situation. This may include:
- documents of household expenses
- other proof of income
If approved, the organization may give you a free gas card or voucher every week or every month. They may also offer you help when it comes to general transportation needs.
The Salvation Army offers these unique programs that are specific to each community they are located in. The qualifications, process, and kind of aid they provide vary depending on the location of the community they are serving.
It’s best to look for the Salvation Army office closest to your location with the use of the official Salvation Army Location Search. They should be able to provide you clearer directions regarding the programs that are available to you.
2. Saint Vincent de Paul
Saint Vincent de Paul is an international organization that provides people with financial aid that they can use for their fuel expenses.
Of course, income is their primary consideration when determining eligibility for their program. Those who are already receiving some form of government assistance will most likely have a higher chance of making it on the list.
If qualified, you may be given gas cards that you can use for attending job interviews, going to work, and other essential trips.
Saint Vincent de Paul also provides other kinds of assistance such as:
- job placement and training
- medical services
- housing programs
- food pantries
As with the Salvation Army, Saint Vincent de Paul also operates in local communities with programs, qualifications, and processes that are unique to each location.
It’s best to use their Finding Local Assistance and Services tool to look for the website specific to your location and see what programs they have to offer.
3. Catholic Charities
Catholic Charities, as the name implies, is a charitable organization dedicated to assisting families who need aid.
Their primary focus is giving disaster relief, emergency shelters, clothing, food pantries, and emergency financial assistance.
The group has over 3,600 locations worldwide. While gas assistance may not necessarily be their primary focus, they may still be able to provide aid through other means.
They may also have vouchers or coupons for other organizations within your area that can give you some financial relief.
For further information, you can use the Catholic Charities locator tool so you can connect with the closest local office they have to you.
They should be able to guide you better on the kinds of programs they have that may help address your needs.
4. Non-Emergency Transportation (N.E.T.)
The non-emergency transportation (N.E.T.) program was designed to aid individuals who are having trouble attending their medical appointments. The program is funded mainly by Medicaid insurance. It supports the following:
- Primarily individuals who are on Medicaid, and
- Select individuals who are on other government assistance programs.
To apply for the service, simply follow the steps below:
- Call the Medicaid hotline. You can look for the contact number of your state Medicaid agency or find other ways to contact them through this link.
- Inform them of your intention to apply for the N.E.T. program. You will also have to provide them with your Medicaid card, the date of your next appointment, and the name and contact number of the doctor you will be visiting.
- Wait for approval. Generally, those who are on full Medicaid receive approval. If you pass their screening, then you can expect to receive a debit card in your mail.
Keep in mind that the N.E.T. program is a reimbursement program. This means that you will have to attend your appointment before receiving funds for your expenses. The reimbursement will then be credited to your debit card.
5. Wheels to Work Program
The Wheels to Work Program doesn’t actually give out free gas vouchers. Instead, it provides a more affordable way for working families to get a car that they can then use to carpool and ultimately, save money on their individual transportation costs.
The program was designed by the Goodwill Car Program. It puts you and your family into a reliable car that you can avail of through a special financing program that has a very low interest rate.
The program operates nationwide and requires no credit checks. Signing up for the program does, however, help you improve your credit rating.
To qualify, you have to prove that you are currently employed and have a history of consistent, full-time employment. You also have to show that having a car is actually necessary for you to maintain your job.
Other qualifications for the program will also include:
- Having no drug offenses
- Passing a criminal background check
- Proof of income and employment on the same job from 6-12 months before the application and up to 12 months after
- Proof of residence and an updated driver’s license
- Having no car registered under your name
The program may not be available in every state, and if it is, the demand is often much higher than the number of available cars. If you decide to apply, check first if a Goodwill Headquarters is available in your location by contacting them through this link or by filling out this online interest form.
6. The 2-1-1 Program
The 2-1-1 Program got its name from the 211 hotline you dial to reach the United Way, an organization that brings together people who need support within their respective states. They provide various kinds of financial assistance and other programs such as:
- Addiction services
- Veteran support services
- Re-entry programs for former convicts
- Food banks and food pantries
- Rental and utility assistance
- Clinics and dental programs
- Counseling and mental health support
The United Way may not provide you with these services directly. However, if most of the options listed above aren’t available in your area, the organization can point you to a nearby alternative.
They help individuals in need find organizations that provide, among others, gas vouchers, food, access to health care, and places to live in.
Visit this link so you can specify what kind of help you need and where you are, and the United Way will help point you in the right direction.
Swagbucks is an online platform that gives out free gas cards or vouchers for answering surveys, watching videos, doing online shopping, and many more.
Engaging in these activities earns you points, which you can then use to refill your tank. The site lets users earn as much as $5 every day, which will go a long way when accumulated.
Visit the site and sign up for free. Complete your profile and start earning points.
8. Survey Junkie
Survey Junkie is another online platform that gives its users a free gas card for answering surveys.
All you have to do is create a free account, participate in surveys, and start earning points. The number of points you earn will depend on the kind of survey you choose to participate in. For every 1,000 points you earn, you can redeem a $10 gas voucher that you can use in participating gas stations.
9. Amazon mTurk
Amazon mTurk is another online platform that allows individuals to earn some extra cash. It’s essentially a crowdsourcing marketplace that connects business owners (Requesters) with a global workforce (Workers) to perform certain tasks that they need to have done.
“Workers” on the platform can choose from a wide variety of work such as image and video processing, data verification and clean-up, information gathering, and data processing. They earn an average of about $1 – $6 per hour of work, but can go up to as high as around $12 per hour for more complicated tasks.
Aside from this, it also lets users redeem gas vouchers in exchange for points earned by performing tasks. You can create a Worker account for free so you can start doing tasks.
Kroger is one of the best online grocery shopping platforms out there. Not only is it convenient to use, but it also gives users points and gas cards as an incentive for using the platform.
The Loyalty Program helps users save on fuel with every purchase. Customers who have their Shopper’s Card when they purchase items are able to earn 1 fuel point for every $1 they spend. You can also earn Fuel Points on gift cards, on purchases made at their Pharmacy and in Fred Meyer Jewelers, and on orders you make online.
You can then redeem those Fuel Points at Kroger’s fuel centers or any of their partner fuel centers. You can visit the official Kroger Fuel Points Program website to learn more details and sign up for these offers.
How Else Can You Spend Less on Gas?
There are a ton of other ways that you can take advantage of to either earn extra cash for your gas expenses or minimize your fuel expenses altogether. Some of these include:
1. Display Ads on Your Car
These advertising companies connect businesses that want to increase their brand awareness with car owners who are willing to carry their brands on their cars.
This is a win-win situation, as it can be lucrative for the owner of the car, and is a great form of advertisement for the company that wants to promote its brand.
2. Use Rewards Points or Rebates
Take advantage of rewards points and rebates that you can earn from using your debit cards, credit cards, and other loyalty program cards to get discounts on your fuel expenses. Check your cards for promos and other offers.
There are often credit cards that give you rebates for spending on specific items, such as groceries or gas.
Other credit cards and loyalty program cards also offer points that you can earn for using the card and that can then be redeemed for gas vouchers.
3. Drive Slow
Driving slowly isn’t just safe, but also fuel-efficient. Whenever you’re driving, make sure to avoid revving up the engine. Instead, go for a slow and steady pace that is safe and consumes much less gas.
4. Keep Your Car Well-Maintained
Proper maintenance can save you a ton of gas in the future. A lot of people make the mistake of not bringing their cars in for an annual maintenance service. However, not doing so can cost you a lot more money in the long run.
Well-maintained cars consume much less gas than ones that aren’t. Having filters, tires, oil chambers, and other parts in good condition keeps the car from having to exert that extra effort for it to run.
While it may cost a little in the short term, this consumes less gas and ultimately saves you money long term.
5. Look for the Cheapest Gas
There are a ton of gas stations available everywhere that you can choose from. Before filling your tank up, make sure to look for the cheapest gas in your local area.
A difference of a few cents may not seem big now, but they can add up to a few bucks when put together.
6. Take Other Forms of Transportation
If you are not carpooling or your car simply isn’t fuel-efficient enough, then it might be cheaper to take other forms of transportation.
Someone in your office may be offering carpooling services that you can join in. Otherwise, taking public transportation or simply riding a bike are some of the cheaper and more eco-friendly options out there for you.
The recent oil price hikes have proven to be a huge financial burden, especially to the disadvantaged.
If you or anyone in your family needs assistance with their expenses, the list above should be able to provide you with some help. Make sure to also consider the different ways that we provided for you to earn a few extra bucks or save some money.
Put together, these steps may require a little extra effort but will ultimately prove to be more cost-efficient in the long run.