This article was originally published on Bankrate.com by Rebecca Betterton.
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Drivers across the U.S. have been met with record-high gas prices at the pump over the past few weeks. According to AAA, the national average price per gallon hit $4.07 — up a staggering $1.30 from a year ago. Prices across the nation have been growing since last week and are not expected to stop anytime soon.
5 ways to save money at the gas pump
To save fuel and spend less at the pump, consider making a few adjustments to your normal drive.
1. Drive the speed limit
No matter the fuel economy of your vehicle, driving the speed limit will help conserve fuel. Your gas mileage will decrease if you drive over 50 mph. Along with driving the posted speed, it’s a good idea to avoid extreme acceleration or braking — which will also lead to low gas mileage.
2. Shop around for the cheapest options
Before pulling into the first gas station you pass, research the lowest-priced options in the area. You can download apps such as GasBuddy, Gas Guru and the AAA app to see where the lowest gas prices are near you.
3. Stick with regular gas options
Unless your vehicle requires premium gasoline, there is no need to dole out the extra cash for the top option. Sticking with regular gasoline will save you around 50 cents per gallon — a small number that can quickly add up.
4. Join a rewards program
Many grocery stores offer loyalty programs that reward drivers for filling up at their stations. Some credit cards also offer points when used at the pump. If a traditional gas station is more your style, look out for rewards options specific to the brands you favor — like the one 7-Eleven offers.
5. Map out routes ahead of time
To save money on gas and time in the car, use apps like Waze to take the most efficient route available. Also plan your route ahead of time to ensure you aren’t wasting any gasoline backtracking to different areas.
Other ways to save money on vehicle costs
While it’s true that the cost to power your car can be quite costly — especially now — the true cost of vehicle ownership is made up of many factors. And there are still other ways to save money as a driver.
Maintain your vehicle
Keeping up to date on the maintenance of your vehicle will help you to avoid any unforeseen problems. Try to get your vehicle checked by a professional a few times a year to avoid any costly problems bound to come up down the road.
Cut down on long trips
More miles clocked on your odometer means more trips to the gas station — but it also means more potential for mechanical problems. If you can avoid it, now might not be the best time for a long road trip. It could also be a good time to carpool or rely on public transportation where available.
Shop for cheaper insurance
If you have had the same insurance for a long time, now might be a good time to shop around and see what other options are available. Be sure to compare quotes from multiple providers to ensure you are getting the best deal.
Refinance your current car loan
You may be able to secure better terms and save on your monthly payment by refinancing your car loan. This is especially true if you have improved your credit score. Compare your current rates with refinanced terms to see if you can save more money by refinancing.
Record-high prices are due to a combination of factors
The record-high prices the nation is facing are due in part to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and resulting sanctions. These sanctions have led to a dramatic rise in the cost of crude oil, which serves as a primary ingredient to power your vehicle. As the price of crude oil rises, so will the prices at the gas pump.
Combined with potential Fed rates rising and the looming impacts of the pandemic, it’s unlikely the price of gas will fall anytime soon. Take advantage of any opportunities available to save money in this expensive environment.
The bottom line
When it comes to vehicle ownership, costs can add up — and the price tag attached to the gas pump can cause a great deal of frustration. While much of the rising gas prices are outside of your control, focus on the choices you can make to save.
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