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In time for the winter travel, gasoline prices are rising again.
The national average gas price per gallon is $ 3.34, up 2 cents from a week ago, according to GasBuddy.com. However, that’s less than about $ 3.43 a month ago. Average prices range from $ 2.84 in Oklahoma to $ 4.66 in California.
While you may have come to terms with the increased gas prices – a year ago the average charge was $ 2.21 per gallon – there are ways to cut down on your refueling costs.
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“Too many motorists simply drive up to the nearest pump and end up overpaying,” said Patrick De Haan, Head of Petroleum Analysis at GasBuddy.
According to AAA, about 100 million people plan to travel by car between December 23 and January 2 to destinations more than 50 miles from home. This is in addition to 6 million air travel and 3 million bus, train and cruise bookings.
Driving in winter can reduce fuel economy, according to the Department of Energy. Because colder air is denser, it increases the aerodynamic drag of your vehicle, especially at highway speeds. In addition, low temperatures cause increased friction in the engine and transmission and a drop in tire pressure, which increases rolling resistance.
In general, you should minimize idling (i.e. warm up the vehicle) and keep your tires properly inflated, according to the Department of Energy, which offers other tips…
Plus, you can drive more accurately, which can improve the efficiency of your car’s engine, De Haan said. In other words, don’t do things like speed or race from light to light.
“But it’s hard to convince motorists to give up the leading foot,” he said.
Plus, buy at the best price. Depending on where you live, gas station prices can fluctuate a lot. And even if the difference in price per gallon could be as little as a penny, it could still be hundreds of dollars a year. Even prices in different states can vary significantly.
In addition, there are apps including GasBuddy, Gas Guru and AAA TripTik that can help you find the best prices on your itinerary.
It is also worth taking a closer look at the loyalty programs that are available in many large gas station chains. They are generally free and may offer discounts per gallon in cents, De Haan said.
However, credit cards offering discounts on the purchase of gas may not be the best option if you don’t pay off your card balances on a regular basis. In other words, you may end up paying more interest than the discount itself.