Spring Gas Prices Rising toward $4 a Gallon: Steps to Save Money

Spring gas price increase
Spring is in the air, but that also brings about the unwelcome news that gasoline prices are making their annual Spring climb toward the $4.00 a gallon mark. While this is happening all over the country, those in California are currently experiencing an especially painful spike in prices this week.

Currently, the average gallon of gasoline in the nation as $3.55 a gallon. This is an increase from the 2013 low of roughly $3.18 a gallon. While this increase is painful for everybody across the nation, those in California are dealing with an average price of $4.01 a gallon, which is about a $.35 price increase since the middle of March. The city of San Francisco has prices around $4.07 a gallon while Los Angeles gas stations are charging $4.08. Many analysts are predicting that the average price may reach as high as $4.25 a gallon in the coming week.

Why has there been a sudden increase in gasoline prices? At least for the Golden State, there are lower supplies and higher crude oil costs. In addition, ethanol, which is blended into gasoline, is up about 60% from the same time last year due to higher corn and railroad shipping costs.

Even with the current high prices that continues to increase, California doesn’t have the highest gas prices in the nation. That crown goes to Hawaii, which currently is averaging $4.27 a gallon. The lowest gas costs can be found in Montana which is currently averaging about $3.26 a gallon. Most of the nation should avoid the $4.00 a gallon price with predictions of the current average gas price topping out about $3.65 a gallon sometime in the next few weeks.

Another question is how much of an impact will the increase in gasoline prices have on the economy? When gasoline prices increase, it’s common for families to cut spending in other areas to be able to afford to get around. If people begin spending less in other areas, you could see it begin to affect the economies of the cities with these $4.00 a gallon gas prices. If this does begin to happen, there are other large population centers that won’t be far behind. Gas prices have risen to the $3.75 a gallon point in cities such as Chicago, New York, and Miami.

If you find that your budget is taking a hit due to the increase in cost of gasoline, here are a few things you can do to make sure that you aren’t spending more than you need (also be sure that you aren’t accidentally wasting money with these common gas saving myths):

Drive Less

Probably the most effective way to reduce your gasoline consumption is to simply drive less. If you have an errand to run that is close by, instead of jumping into your car, walk or ride your bike. When it comes to the weekends, instead of taking long trips outside of town, look for activities that can be done close to home. By taking a little time to think about where you go and how you can get there, you should be able to reduce the amount of driving you do.

Avoid Rush Hour

If you have a commute to work, that usually entails driving through rush hour traffic. If this is the case, consider changing the time you go to work. Although nobody likes to get up earlier than they have to, getting to the office an hour or two before you usually do can save quite a bit of time that might otherwise be wasted sitting in traffic. This works well if your company offers flextime so that you can go in early and then come home early. But even if your company doesn’t offer flex time, it can still work to your advantage. Getting to the office an hour early to drink your coffee and read your newspaper there instead of at home will mean less time in the car, and it’s a simple way to save on gas.

Combine Trips

When it comes to running errands, take some time to plan them out so that you only have to make one trip instead of making several. This will save you both time and gas as you won’t be running back and forth from your house to get things, but instead get them all in one outing.

Rideshare or Carpool

If your schedule allows for a regular commute, ridesharing or carpooling can be an excellent way to reduce the amount you pay for gasoline. It does take a bit of effort to find others who have a similar commute schedule in the same general area as you, but once you find a good group, it can be an excellent way to get to work every morning. Since you will be sharing a car, you won’t be driving yours every day which will save on gas. Another huge bonus is that you will have enough people to allow for you to drive in the commuter lane which will save you even more money since these usually have much less stop and go traffic.

Buy Gas Gift Cards

If you fill up your car at a particular gas station on a regular basis, consider going to the secondary market and looking for a gift card for that gas station. Gift cards for gas stations usually sell for 5% or more off their retail value on the secondary market. That means that you can get $100 worth of gas for $95 or less simply by purchasing the gift card. It’s important to make sure that if you go this route, it’s for a gas station that you would regularly use which also has good gas prices in your area.

Clean Out Your Car

Take the time to open your trunk to clean out all the things that have accumulated in it over the winter months. Every extra pound that you carry around in your car means that your car must work a little harder, and use a little bit more gas, to get around. Doing a spring cleaning of your car trunk and back seat to get rid of anything that you don’t need to be carrying around will help your car get better gas mileage. At the same time, if you placed on a winter car-rack for skiing and other outdoor activities, taking it off will help avoid unnecessary wind resistance that can also help improve your gas mileage.

Drive Less Aggressively

Many people don’t think about it, but aggressive driving will end up wasting a lot of gas. Accelerating quickly from stops and driving well above the speed limit will use more gas than driving with a more patient attitude. Depending on the size of the vehicle you drive, aggressive driving can cost you 30% or more in gas consumption than more patient driving. Learn to slowly accelerate from a stop, drive with the flow of traffic, and stay around the speed limit posted. Doing this should allow you to get much better gas mileage than if you continue to drive aggressively.

(Photo courtesy of Glenn Batuyong)

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20 Responses to Spring Gas Prices Rising toward $4 a Gallon: Steps to Save Money

  1. dave says:

    This happens every year around this time. As summer nears, gas prices will rise because more people will be driving and the gas companies can make more money raising their prices.

  2. thecrud says:

    Time to stall the economy.

    Were not far from people losing the job because you cant afford to drive to work.

    And rent prices are so high you cant move closer.

    Guess the freeway overpass is going to look like Patrick stars rock.
    Who are you people.

    5 people renting a 4 bedroom house will soon be 10.

  3. adam says:

    This is pathetic. I’m seriously considering using 4 dollars a gallon on gas to set myself on fire with before running into a public square packed full of people. Our government is one giant criminal. Bush and Obama have sex with each other.

  4. JP says:

    The reason gas prices are higher is because government continues to apply more taxes to a gallon of gas. In addition, government allows oil and gas companies to raise prices to make their billions as we continue to try to make ends meet. Not everyone has the ability to drive less, ride share, and avoid rush hour. They continue to make the excuses every year but make no attempt to improve any of the issues.

  5. rita says:

    Do gas companies think we are stupid? People, just stop shopping for one week a month. Hit them where it hurts! Watch how fast prices come down.

  6. Steve says:

    There are better ways to save money. Walk. Ride a bike. Get either an electric car or a plug in hybrid. Reduce your commute by living closer to work. Encourage development of local shopping and farmers markets. Mother Earth needs us to become a different species when it comes to using energy. By the way plug in hybrids can get the equivalent of 100 miles per gallon of gasoline and all electrics are zero emission at the tailpipe.

  7. rita says:

    I agree: stall the economy! Sick of big businesses stealing our money!

  8. John Peachey says:

    Absolutely disgusting. Our government suks. Wonder how they wood feel if we all actually stuck together like other countries that r fed up with their leadership and take to the streets. China Egypt Israel. They go crazy when their government even thinks about screwing with them. But we Americans are so understanding bout everyones differences. HOW BOUT EVERYONES LIKES!!!!! TAXES RAPING AT THE FUEL PUMP AND CORRUPTION THRU OUR ENTIRE GOVERNMENT FROM CITY GOVENERS TO STATE REPRESENTATIVES TO FEDERAL POSITIONS. bout time for us to make a statement. Enough is enough. U raise our gas prices every spring……… we burn down 10 senators houses. U raise our taxes year after year we destroy a governor house. Wake up america. They won’t stop till someone is bleeding. Blood is the only thing that makes people of this country even blink anymore. Let’s take back control of OUR GOVERNMENT. IF U HAVE KIDS JUST THINK BOUT 20 YRS FROM NOW . U MAY B UPPERCLASS NOW BUT UR KIDS WILL SELL CRACK FOR GAS TO GO TO WORK!!!!! WTF….WAKE UP AMERICA WAKE UP. MARCH ON DC AND DONT TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER. IT IS PASSED DUE

  9. Excuses says:

    Government squeezing every last penny from all of us. Always an excuse for an extra tax or add on fee no mater how much iT rains there’s not enough water up goes your bill PGE was allowed to put up its prices to pay for damages in San Bruno that will never go down again. Soon

  10. adam says:

    They edited what I really said here. Typical. How much is it to use freedom of speech?

  11. Will says:

    I spend about $5 a week on gas. Go scooter or moped!

  12. John says:

    Problems start when the government applies additional taxes to the electric cars and hybrids because they don’t pay their fair share in gasoline taxes. Many states are doing this. Some states even have excise taxes for bicycles over $500.

    There is no winning if you need to get from point A to point B unless you walk, then they’ll tax you for CO2 production when you exhale.

  13. daytongarmin says:

    It figures that the price of gas rises just when I need to buy some. I have used almost one gallon of gas in my Volt since Thanksgiving.
    I should also thank many of you who contributed to my $7500 tax credit for last year. If gas goes to $5.00 a gallon I might just decide to not buy any more gas until the price comes down.

  14. Pamela says:

    We got your point though, Adam. Thank you.

  15. jeffrey says:

    We consider ourselves a family friendly website — feel free to comment as long as you keep it family friendly.

  16. seana says:

    I agree. They are raping us at the gas pumps and in all facets of our lives. This government and economy needs to recycle. Its past due. The problem is the unmotivated americans who would rather have peace than get off their tushies eating fritos, cheetos, nachos, and sucking down their 8 gallon soda while watching nonstop football and basketball after they come back from their job where they tried to do the least amount of work possible while texting/emailing pics and talking about justin bieber’s rehab.
    Hmm wonder why our country is in the dump and only getting dumpier and dumpier…..hmm what other ways can companies and pop culture drug us up from reality? Just think the companies are thinking up more ways to do just that irght now! Scary! and the people will still be laying around not listening. Well you get the country you deserve then.

  17. Earl Richards says:

    To avoid the gasoline price rip-off, plug your Tesla S electric car into your household, solar array.

  18. Holly says:

    Metro chicago broke the $4 ‘barrier’ this past weekend. Most of my local stations are now $4.09. Glad I am retired and can cut my driving down even more. Sorry merchants, I cannot afford to shop at your stores, feed my car AND feed myself.

  19. Jay in Austin says:

    Glad somebody’s getting paid to write articles about … about … sunshine … changing seasons … about driving patterns … you know … about anything and everything EXCEPT NEWS !!!

  20. Wc19805 says:

    Then they would need meters that measure the amount of co2. I guess tax payers would pay for that too.:-)

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