Published March 10, 2014
Americans might be anxiously waiting for Spring and warmer weather, but the season change will also bring higher gas prices.
The Lundberg Survey of fuel prices released a new report Sunday showing the price of gasoline increased 10 cents over the past two weeks to $3.51 for a gallon of regular fuel.
Patrick DeHaan, senior analyst at GasBuddy.com, says prices typically increase this time of year because of refinery maintenance and the switch to summer gasoline.
“Refinery maintenance results in lower production, temporarily, while refineries prepare their facilities for the summer driving season,” DeHaan says. “There’s an added cost because there’s less being produced. There is also unrest in Venezuela and Ukraine which have increased oil prices.”
DeHaan predicts prices at the pump to stay high through early May, once refinery maintenance season is over.
“We should see prices slide into Memorial Day and for a good portion of June,” he says.
So if you are looking to save some cash amidst the latest spike in pricing, here are a few tips from DeHaan and GasBuddy.com.
No. 1: Use online tools to research. Knowing where prices are higher and lower can help you to save up to 25 cents per gallon. “Every station is charging a different price,” he says. “Shopping around with a quick free app means you can find the cheapest station.”
No. 2: Drive defensively. Adjusting your driving habits may seem burdensome, but it can help you use up less gas per trip, he says. “If you slow down and drive more defensively, you can increase your fuel economy by about 10%,” he says.
No. 3: Consider wholesale clubs. Joining a wholesale club like Sam’s (WMT) or BJ’s can bring cheaper gas prices.
DeHaan says GasBuddy research shows these clubs often have lower-than-average fuel costs. “It’s generally a guaranteed 10-to-20 cents off per gallon,” he says. “There’s a membership fee, but it almost pays for itself.”