Gas Prices Inch toward $4 a Gallon: Ways to Save

Gas prices inch toward $4 a gallon
Gas prices continue to inch toward $4.00 a gallon, although the increases have leveled off over the past week. According to AAA, gas prices have reached a national average of $3.67 a gallon. That’s an increase of three cents from last week, $.15 from last month, and also $.15 above what gasoline retailed for at the same time last year. While this is the national average, prices are well above $4.00 a gallon in some areas of the country. California currently has an average price of $4.22 a gallon. AAA reports that gasoline prices are showing signs of stabilization over the weekend after a run of more than 20 days of price increases.

Gas prices usually peak sometime during spring. Over the past few years, prices have peaked in February 2013, April 2012 and May 2011. It appears that gas prices will peak this year some time in late April or early May. The current trend shows that there may be some relief for motorists at the pumps over the next couple of weeks, as long as there aren’t any major geopolitical conflicts or weather-related problems that arise.

One wildcard that might throw a wrench into gas prices stabilizing that experts are closely watching is the tension between Russia and the Ukraine. This tension has continued to place pressure on the price of oil. There are still concerns that continued sanctions imposed by Western nations could have an impact on exports from Russia. If this were to happen, there could be a spike in oil prices.

For those who are looking for ways to save money on gasoline, be sure not to waste money when you think you’re saving by doing common gas saving myths. Here are a few tips that can help you save money:

Remove Racks & Clean

If you placed racks on your car for winter sports such as skiing or snowboarding, it’s time to take them off. The extra wind resistance that they create while driving will reduce your gas mileage. While you’re at it, it’s also a good time to clean out the trunk and back seat of your vehicle of any items that don’t need to be there. Any extra weight that your car carries around while you drive reduces its gas mileage.

Check that Air Filter

If you haven’t checked your car’s air filter in a while, it’s time to do it. It’s estimated that as many as one in four cars on the road needs to have their air filter replaced. Depending on how dirty the air filter is in your car, it can decrease your gas mileage by as much as 10%. While it will cost you a bit of money to replace the air filter, it will quickly pay for itself with increased gas mileage, and not having to fill up your car as often.

Avoid Idling

When you let your car idle for long periods of time, all you’re doing is wasting gas. If you are stopped for more than 15 to 20 seconds, it’s more fuel-efficient to turn off the car and start it again rather than to let it idle. That means that you’ll save money if you turn off your car instead of letting it idle when you run to the ATM to take out money, while you’re waiting for someone, when you get stopped at railroad tracks, or if you find yourself in a traffic jam.

Walk & Bike

One of the most effective ways to save money on gasoline is to reduce your consumption by driving less. This is actually a lot easier than most people think, but it does require you to make an extra effort. For those errands that are nearby, instead of just jumping into your car and driving, consider alternative ways to get there such as walking or biking. For weekend trips, choose activities that are closer to home rather than longer trips to places farther away. Taking the time to plan trips more effectively and to use alternative ways of getting there when the errands are close by, you can reduce consumption by quite a bit.

Combine Errands

When you’re ready to do your daily errands, plan them in such a way that you can do them all at the same time rather than taking multiple trips during the day. By taking a single trip rather than making several, you’ll end up saving both time and gas. It does take a bit more planning, but the payoff is less gas wasted and more time for yourself during the day.

Regularly Rotate Tires

Get into the habit of rotating your tires on a regular basis. A good way to remind yourself to do this is to have it done when you have your oil changed. Rotating your tires will allow them to wear more evenly, which will help your car get better gas mileage. An added benefit is that the tires will also last longer so that you don’t have to replace them as often, therefore saving even more money.

Check Tire Pressure

Although you’ve probably heard this gas saving tip a million times, it’s one that many people still don’t do. Tires that are under-inflated waste gas and wear out the tires more quickly. An easy way to remember to check your tire pressure on a regular basis is to purchase a tire air pressure gauge that can fit in the area by your gas. Each time you go to fill up your car, the tire gauge will be there to remind you to check the pressure, and make sure that your tires are properly inflated.

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3 Responses to Gas Prices Inch toward $4 a Gallon: Ways to Save

  1. Earl Richards says:

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

  2. Miz Pat says:

    Desert Living Tip – Fill up in the morning, when its cool, and the gasoline hasn’t expanded as much.

  3. Catherine says:

    Haha I’d love those gas prices! We’re paying the equivalent of $5.10/gallon ($1.35/L). It isn’t cheap and makes us think twice about travel!

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