Make Ends Meet: Saving money on gas

With inflation on everything still looming, taking a family trip can feel intimidating
Published: Apr. 25, 2023 at 7:24 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Folks are ready to hit the road for a little fun.

Nearly half of adult Americans plan to pack up the car for vacation travel this summer, according to a study from MonkeySurvey.

Add the high volume of traffic with the low volume of gasoline inventory, and we may be looking at rising gas prices again this year.

The price of gas changes by the minute, it seems. You go to work in the morning, it’s one price, then you come home, and it’s ten cents higher, and you are saying to yourself why didn’t I get gas on the way to work?

With inflation still glaring in the face of American families, taking a family trip can feel intimidating.

David Holt of the Consumer Energy Alliance warns families to be prepared because the price at the pump may not be done rising.

“We’re looking at a situation where gasoline prices are probably going to go up a little bit more before they stabilize,” explained Holt. “It’s gone up very, very quickly.”

With a rise in oil prices comes a rise in gas prices, gas’ main ingredient.

“We saw the price of oil go up more in one day than it has in two years. Everyone is beginning to feel it at the pump, and summer driving is just a month away,” Holt said.

As the price of oil goes, so goes the price of gasoline and so goes the price of diesel fuel.

“When diesel fuel prices change because diesel is used in those big trucks and every time you call Amazon and you have something delivered to your home now prices for everything go up,” exclaimed Holt. “Everything delivered by truck is now more expensive because the price of diesel goes up.”

That includes groceries, medical supplies, clothing, building materials and more. Most of those items come to local stores by truck.

“Individual families feel it in their pocketbooks,” explained Holt. “Folks are making hard choices.”

Refineries in the U.S. also transition to summer blend fuel, which temporarily constricts supply and boosts prices.

Summer gas produces fewer emissions and is more expensive to produce.

“When you get to $4 and above for a gallon of gasoline sometimes folks that are at poverty level, sometimes folks holding down two jobs raising their families are having to make hard decisions between groceries and food for the house or the gallon of gasoline to get to work,” exclaimed Holt.

To get as much as you can out of that dollar bill and that gallon of gas Holt says you can do a few things to help get the most out of that tank of gas.

”A heavier car uses more gasoline,” shared Holt.

Get some of that junk out of the trunk. The lighter the car, the less gas you will use.

”Rolling Down your windows puts drag on your vehicle, which uses more gas,” explained Holt.

On the highway, roll up your windows and set your air conditioner on low.

”Make sure your tires are properly inflated,” stressed Holt.

When your tires do not have the proper amount of air in them, they are softer than they should be. This softness causes a rolling resistance between the road and the rubber, which makes your engine work harder. Holt also says to plan for the day before you hop in your car.

“Combine trips, so don’t just go from home to the store then back home then home to work and back home,” stressed Holt. “Try to combine it where you are making one trip for multiple errands instead of multiple trips.”

There are some other things you can do.

Check with Triple A or check the apps Gas Buddy or Gas Guru to make sure you can find the cheapest gas prices where you are. Make sure you know where you are going. Driving round and round because you can’t find your destination not only wastes time, but gas.

Last, consider using a gas rewards credit card that can help offset high costs at the tank, and don’t forget those loyalty cards that sometimes knock off as much as ten cents a gallon.