(NEW YORK) — The price for a gallon of gas has surged to a national high.
As of Tuesday morning, AAA said it costs an average of $4.17 for a gallon of gas, the highest price ever recorded.
Filling up a small car of gasoline will now cost you about $50, and GasBuddy predicts we could see the national average price soar to $4.25 a gallon by Memorial Day.
“I think it will probably happen even much sooner than that,” GasBuddy’s Head of Petroleum Analysis Patrick De Haan told ABC News, “potentially even by the end of the month, so gas prices continue to go up and defy expectations.”
So how can you keep the pain at the pump to a minimum? Here’s what the experts say:
Change the way you drive
Most cars achieve optimal fuel economy around 55 mph, according to GasBuddy. Driving too fast or too slow won’t give you the most bang for your buck.
AAA recommends reducing your speed if your trip takes you on the highway.
“Aerodynamic drag causes fuel economy to drop off significantly as speeds increase above 50 mph,” the group says.
Experts also said it is key to remember to accelerate gradually and ease up on the brake — braking suddenly or speeding up fast is hard on fuel economy. Cruise control can help you maintain the proper speed and save fuel.
Don’t skip the repair shop
Making sure that your car is properly maintained will ensure a problem with the vehicle isn’t using up more fuel than it should.
The biggest red flag is if the “check engine” light is illuminated.
In that case, “take your car to the repair shop as soon as possible,” AAA says. “This indicates a problem that is causing excessive emissions and likely reducing fuel economy.”
Another thing to stay on top of, according to experts, is your tires.
If your tires are underinflated, you won’t maximize your fuel savings.
Avoid idling and turn off that air conditioner
Even if it is cold out, do not idle your car for long periods. It does nothing but waste fuel.
“If your car will be stopped for more than 60 seconds, shut off the engine,” AAA recommends.
On the flip side, if it is hot out, try to minimize your use of air conditioning.
Keeping your windows down for a breeze will save you more fuel than running your AC.
Take advantage of apps that track prices
Many people use the app Waze for directions, but it also has a gas feature that can show you the nearest gas stations along with prices.
Gas stations near major exits and in bigger cities tend to be more expensive.
The app GasBuddy is another resource constantly updating gas prices in real-time. In addition, you can get alerts on deals sent to your phone.
Another app to check out is Gas Guru. It aims to help you find the cheapest gas prices with information straight from the oil price information service. The app lets you search by fuel grade and amenities as well.
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