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How to Save Money at the Gas Pump

Tips for drivers looking to hold down gasoline expenditures as fuel prices surge

Stanton, CA - March 07: High gas prices at stations on the corner of Beach Boulevard and Lampson Avenue in Stanton, CA, on Monday, March 7, 2022. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

 

Blame it on a demand-supply imbalance, Russia’s war in Ukraine, or a combination of both, but consumers are paying more at the gas pump. A lot more than a couple of years ago, when the COVID-19 pandemic kept Americans home and their vehicles idle.

For May, the Consumer Price Index soared to a 40-year high of 8.6 percent, with gasoline, housing, and food, driving much of the increase. The gasoline index in May rose 4.1 percent year-over-year. Retail gas prices are setting new records daily, with the national average for regular gas at $4.99 per gallon. Meanwhile, premium gasoline is going for around $5.64 per gallon.

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“Prices usually bottom out in January and February, but it looks like they bottomed out on January 16,” says Robert Sinclair, a spokesman for AAA Northeast. “Prices have been going up consistently since then, and there’s no indication they are going anywhere but up.”

For many older adults, gas is a necessity, one that can’t be completely switched off like dining out or spending on entertainment. The good news: You can reduce the amount you spend getting your car from point A to point B. Here’s how.​​

How to lower your gasoline expenditures ​​

When it comes to saving at the pump, the factor that has the biggest impact tends to be the hardest to change — your driving habits. “American consumers have more power than they realize,” says Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. “If you look at the pandemic, people stopped driving and prices plummeted.”

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AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.