The Yo Yo Effect: Will Gas Prices Go Up or Down?
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Gas prices seem to be falling on the national level to an average $3.61, according to the AAA, but prices are spiking in certain areas of the country due to local shortages of crude oil and necessary fuel blends. States that include Arizona and New York, for instance, are getting pounded with unusually high prices at the pump. California, as usual, is paying the highest prices with $4.86 a gallon, on average.
As for the national outlook: Gas prices are expected to increase nationwide due to recent cuts in oil production by more than a million barrels of crude oil a day. In addition, the northeast will be using its usual (more expensive) summer blend of fuel, putting a significant dent in the slim supply.
So, with a cut in oil production and a demand for gas for all those summer road trips, you can expect to see prices continue to climb as the weather gets warmer. Here’s more on what you need to know, and how to work around rising gas prices.
Current Gas Prices By State
Gas prices change, and are expected to rise over the next few months, but here is how much they are on average in your state.
|State||Regular Gasoline||Premium Gasoline||Diesel Gas|
How To Get Better Gas Mileage and Save Money
You won’t see gas prices decrease as the summer unfolds, but if you take care to adjust certain parts of your car or your driving habits, you can save substantial amounts of money over the course of a long road trip. Hey, it is still cheaper than flying!
Here are some easy ways to optimize your gas mileage:
Fill Up Your Tires According to Your Owners Manual
Don’t go overboard thinking more is better. There’s nothing worse than overfilling your tires and having a blowout while on the highway. However, your owners manual will tell you what the maximum amount of air is for your car, so hit that max before you start driving. You can save a good amount of money by not driving with under-inflated tires.
Don’t Skip Oil Changes
Your oil and filters should be changed regularly, and you must consult your owners manual for the specific type of oil and after how many miles you must have the oil changed. Don’t skimp on this cost, which is much cheaper than fixing an engine that is damaged due to sludge and debris. Yes, the filters must be changed too! Regular oil and filter changes will lubricate your engine’s components for better performance and much better gas mileage.
Actually, any speed over 60 miles per hour will use gas more efficiently. The faster you go, the faster the gas goes.
Avoid Stop/Go and Weaving
Abrupt stops as well as sudden slowing and speeding up will cause you to use more gas than driving moderately and patiently. Not only will you waste gas but you’ll raise your chances of having an expensive car accident!
You use one quarter to one half gallon of fuel per hour when you sit and idle in the car. Compare that to a warm engine, which only takes 10 seconds worth of fuel to restart. If you’re waiting for someone who is inside the store grabbing snacks, turn off the car!
If you simply need to use AC, just know that it will cost you about 25% more to get to where you are going!
Use Fuel Additives
Fuel-cleaning additives can help improve your gas mileage so ask your mechanic about it next time you get an oil change.
Use Cruise Control
The more consistent your speed, and especially if it remains at or below 60mph, the less you waste gas.
Plan Your Trip in Advance
This way, you can avoid peaks in traffic where you’ll idle forever. You can also minimize turnarounds. Try to combine tasks into fewer stops. Just keep cruising as long as you’re not tired.
Buy Prepaid Toll Passes
Prepaid toll passes based on your desired route will prevent you from idling and waiting in line.
Do you really need to hitch that trailer? Do you need to bring the boat or other toys? The lighter the cargo, the less gas your car will need to get to your destination.
Replace Spark Plugs
Misfiring spark plugs can decrease fuel economy by up to 30%!
Use a Gas App
Map out gas stops based on which station is offering the cheapest fuel. Gas Buddy and other similar apps will help you pay as little as possible at the pump.
Use a Cash Back Rewards Card
You may have to activate the offer, but many credit card companies offer rewards or cash back if you use their card to buy gas.
Get Adequately Insured for Common Road Trip Disasters
Road Trip Disaster
Liability and Collision Coverage
Homeowners or Renters Insurance
Health Insurance or Personal Injury Protection
Consider Buying an EV or Hybrid Car
Buying a new or used EV or hybrid is one way to save on gas costs. Some EVs and PHEVs are eligible for tax credits and manufacturer rebates. A greener car may also earn a green car discount from your insurer.
Save Money on Car Insurance
Make sure you’re adequately insured for your trip and add on coverages that may save you money, like roadside assistance as well as collision and comprehensive (unless your car is worth less than a few thousand dollars).
After you figure out which coverages you need, compare prices online. The service is free, and you’ll see if you can save a few hundred dollars – and with a more robust plan that is suited to long-distance travel.
Is Your Health Insurance Valid if You Leave Your Area?
You never know when someone in your group may fall ill or get seriously injured. Most health insurance plans have what’s called a coverage zone. If you travel outside of that zone, you may not be covered if, say, you need to visit an emergency room. Call your insurer and see if you’re covered at each point in your itinerary. If you’re not, you may need to buy travel health insurance to avoid exorbitant medical bills if the worst happens. If you’re not insured, you may be able to buy a plan today if you meet certain requirements.