President Joe Biden is taking steps to wrestle down gas prices, which were nearly 60% higher in October 2021 than they were the same month a year ago.
This week, he announced that the Energy Department would release 50 million barrels of oil from the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to increase supply.
Last month, the nationwide gas price average hit a seven-year high, according to AAA, and prices this week averaged $1.29 more than they were this time a year ago.
“The fact is, right now, that energy prices at the pump and at home are too high,” Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm said during a press briefing this week. “Low-income families already spend up to 30% of their monthly income on fuel, on energy. And so, any price increase — for them, in particular — causes an undue strain, but it causes a strain on everyone.”
But don’t expect that to change gas prices immediately, Biden warned.
In the meantime, you can cut how much you pay at the pump. Here’s how.
Know how to find cheaper gas stations
Apps like GasBuddy track local gas prices, which can show if it’s better to fill up at the station near your home or by your workplace. And while warehouse clubs like Costco typically require membership fees, many have their own gas stations that offer lower prices, which may alone justify the dues.
Change how you drive to increase fuel economy
Believe it or not, adjusting how you speed up, brake or use cruise control can impact how much gas is used on your trip.
For starters, slow down. According to a study from car-shopping website Edmunds, slowing down from 75 to 65 mph increased fuel economy up to 14%.
Embrace cruise control. Edmunds found that driving at a constant speed can save up to 14% versus constantly changing lanes, accelerating and decelerating.
And idling eats up a significant amount of gas, even though you’re not moving. If you’re waiting outside school to pick up your kids, or you’ve pulled over at the end of your block to chat with a neighbor, turn off the engine. Edmunds found that avoiding excessive idling can cut fuel use up to 19%.
Use the right gas credit card
Ultimately, it’s likely you’re paying more for gas this year than last, no matter how prudent you are about saving. If so, at least maximize rewards earned from your purchases. The best gas credit cards typically net at least 3% back in rewards for your gas station purchases.
You could also ditch gas completely and consider an electric car. They can be expensive, and they can be a hassle when you consider how often you’ll need to charge it and figure out where you’ll be able to do so.
But they come with benefits too — no oil changes needed, access to carpool lanes in some regions, and reduced environmental guilt. Then there’s the tax benefit, too. All-electric and plug-in hybrid cars purchased new in or after 2010 may be eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500.
And these days, not paying for gas might feel like the biggest benefit of them all.
Sally French writes for NerdWallet. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @SAFmedia.
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