Gas Prices Are Rising: Here’s How Much Your Road Trip Will Cost

Learn to maximize your car’s fuel efficiency as gas prices rise.

At $2.87, the national gas price average continues to climb, partly due to President Trump’s decision to re-impose sanctions on Iran. The global oil market shake-up means a gas price hike for Americans, as crude oil prices and U.S. gasoline prices historically behave similarly.

Across the nation, drivers are feeling the pinch and paying 16 cents more per gallon for regular gas than one month ago and 53 cents more per gallon of regular than one year ago. That means the 400-mile drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco — a trip that would use about one tank of gas for a Toyota Corolla, for example — now costs approximately $9 more than it did in May 2016.

Click to see how much money traffic costs you.

The crude oil price volatility doesn’t bode well for the nearly 42 million Americans who plan to travel Memorial Day weekend. The gas price national average is expected to reach $3 per gallon this summer, according to AAA.

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Lower Your Gas Spending

American drivers might not have any control over gas prices, but they can significantly save at the pump and maximize fuel economy without a lot of added effort. Here are four ways you can lower your gas spending:

  1. Plan ahead. If you’re planning a summer road trip, mapping out your route in advance could help you save money. Fill your tank near gas state lines, if possible. For instance, driving across the state line from Utah into Colorado for a fill-up means a difference of almost 40 cents per gallon on regular gas at the pump.
  2. Eliminate wind resistance. Open sunroofs, open convertible tops, open windows, externally mounted cargo and bike racks all contribute to wind resistance and can cost you fuel in the long run.
  3. Slow down. Decrease your fuel consumption by opting for cruise control and try to avoid sudden accelerations or breaking, if possible. Resisting the temptation to put the pedal to the metal might mean you have to fill up less often — and keep you from getting a costly speeding ticket.
  4. Download a gas app. Use your phone to help you find cheaper gas prices. Apps like Waze, GasBuddy and Gas Guru help users avoid gas-guzzling traffic jams and locate the least expensive gas and the closest gas stations in the area. No smartphone? No problem. A general rule of thumb is to avoid pricey gas stations conveniently located right off the highway.

Click to read more money-saving tips for your next road trip.