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12 Tips To Deal With Rising Gas Prices

Gas prices are rising fast, with $4 per gallon common and up as high as $5 per gallon in Los Angeles. 

Gas prices usually rise between February and Memorial Day as the costlier summer-blend gas is produced and more people drive while on vacation. But the nationwide rise of 47 cents since mid-January is one of the earliest increases that some experts say could lead to all-time highs.

The average price across the country is $3.77 a gallon, but expect that to rise, according to a USA Today story.

Remember record high gas prices in the summer of 2008, when the national average in July was $4.11 per gallon? Those may look like the good old days.

The story cited an oil broker who speculates that prices will rise in March, but will drop in the summer. That’s because once prices hit $4 a gallon, people feel the pain enough in their wallets that they drive less.

It’s also when sales of smaller, gas-efficient cars go up, including electric vehicles, and commuters find other ways to get to work such as public transportation, biking and working from home.

“Gas is going to continue its 32-day steady rise at the pump through April to $4 a gallon,” says Chris Faulkner, CEO of Dallas-based Breitling Energy Companies, in a press release. “This number, coupled with higher heating bills and lower paychecks due to expiration of the payroll tax holiday, means shrinking budgets and increasing unrest among consumers.”

To save gas, the most common methods are to drive the speed limit and not accelerate fast. Here are 12 more tips from Faulkner on how to make your trip to the gas pump less painful:

1. Fill up your tank on Wednesday or Thursday before 10 a.m. Gas prices rise on Thursdays in anticipation of weekend travel, and 10 a.m. is when most gas station owners make their price change for the day. Unless it’s an emergency, don’t buy gas on Friday or weekends.

2. Don’t let your car idle, either when you warm it up or when you are at a standstill. If you’re going to be standing for more than a minute, running your engine wastes more gas than restarting the engine.

3. Remove unnecessary items in your car. Every 250 extra pounds eats up an extra mile per gallon of gas.

4. Avoid the convenient gas station on the side of the highway as you drive home from work. Such stations can charge up to 15 cents more per gallon.

5. Save money with self-service and look for gas stations where paying cash costs the same as using a credit card.

6. Double check the price to ensure you’re not paying more if you do use a credit card. Some stations charge a nickel or so more per gallon for using a credit card, so if you’re using cash be sure to hit “cash” on the pump.

7. Drive less by combining errands, carpool and plot the shortest route before you leave the house.

8. Check for traffic and detours online, on a smartphone or on the radio before beginning your drive so you can avoid wasteful backtracking and idling.

9. Keep your windows closed when driving on the highway. Open windows can reduce gas mileage by as much as 10%. In stop-and-go traffic, open the windows and turn off the air conditioning to save more money.

10. Rent fuel-efficient cars when you travel and research reasonably priced places to buy gas before you leave.

11. Download a gas app for your phone. GasBuddy is a free app that will help you find the cheapest gas near where you are, and Mapquest has an online finder for gas prices.

12. Be loyal to one gas company and get rewarded with its cash-back credit card reward program. You might not save money at the pump immediately, but getting cash back can help pay the credit card bill for the gas when it arrives in the mail.