March 24, 2008
Gas Hits All-Time High
As consumers drove up to their neighborhood gas stations this weekend, they probably noticed prices were up yet again. According to the Lundberg Survey, released Friday, gas prices have hit an all-time high of $3.26 per gallon on average. The survey tallied prices at 5,000 gas stations nationwide.
In just the last two weeks, the national average price for self-serve, regular, unleaded gas has risen 7 cents, breaking the previous record set last May. The cost of diesel fuel has soared to a record $4.06 a gallon, adding to pressure on consumers and companies delivering goods.
Anyone living in San Francisco can expect to pay the most for gas, with an average price of $3.66. However, drivers in Newark, New Jersey, fare better since they have the nation’s lowest average gas price of $3.03.
According to the Camarillo, California-based surveyor, barring further slippage in the price of crude oil, gasoline prices will continue to rise. In fact, the gasoline price hike would have been greater if not for lower crude oil prices. The price of crude oil closed Friday at $101.84, down about $3 per barrel from two weeks prior after having exceeded $110.
With the average price of gas nationwide expected to hit $3.50 a gallon, rising prices may be giving those who drive cars with four cylinders high blood pressure. But consumers driving SUVs, minivans, and pickup trucks are probably ready to explode. Keep it together. There are things you can do to take control of your vehicle and your money. For starters, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends reducing your gas consumption. Here are some fuel-saving tips:
Slow it down. Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph, costing an additional 10 cents per gallon. Aggressive driving can lower gas mileage by as much as 33% on the highway and 5% on city streets, resulting in 7 cents to 49 cents per gallon. Stay calm, cool, and collected–put your car on cruise control. Visit www.fueleconomy.gov to find out how driving speed affects your gas mileage.
Keep up with car maintenance. Most motorists don’t realize it’s the little things that can make a difference. Fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve your mileage by as much as 40%. Dirty spark plugs can cause misfiring which can waste fuel. Replacing a clogged air filter can save gas mileage by as much as 10%, saving you 15 cents per gallon. Tune your engine; it’ll increase gas mileage by 4%. Also, damaged, loose, or missing gas caps, under-inflated tires, poor wheel alignment, and worn spark plugs all contribute to poor fuel economy.
Remove excess weight. Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your miles per gallon (MPG) by up to 2%. The reduction is based on the percentage of extra weight relative to the vehicle’s weight and affects smaller vehicles more than larger ones.
Comparison shop. Be a proactive consumer. Don’t just pay the high prices at