As gas prices remain high, drivers are looking for ways to save.
“Unfortunately, while there’s really no magic solution to making your car more fuel efficient, there are several small things that you can do, small steps you can take to help get a little bit more out of your gas mileage these days,” said Nick Chabarria, a AAA spokesperson.
One of the biggest tips to save money on gas is to take care of your vehicle. Wayne House, co-owner of H & R Tire & Auto Inc., said routine maintenance such as injection cleaning, induction cleaning and changing the spark plugs regularly can help keep your car more efficient. He also said it’s important to have good tires and make sure they’re properly inflated.
“It’s a whole lot easier to push an inflated tire than it is to push a flat tire,” House said.
It also helps to make sure your car is aerodynamic. Keep cars clean and remove any outer racks, such as roof racks or bike racks, that aren’t being used. House also said to remove any unnecessary weight inside of the vehicle.
“If you’ve got weight in the car and you don’t need to have it in there, take it out,” House said. “Weight is also a gas mileage killer.”
There are resources out there to help drivers shop around and find cheaper prices, such as Gas Buddy and the AAA Mobile app. Membership stores such as Costco and Sam’s Club typically offer cheaper prices, and many gas stations and grocery stores also have rewards programs.
Tim Dzubay works in St. Joseph but lives in the Kansas City area. He said due to his 40-minute commute every day, he’s spending a lot of money on gas. Occasionally he looks around for cheaper prices but usually ends up filling up at Speedy’s in St. Joseph.
“I’ve got to go to my job every day, so I can’t really change too much,” Dzubay said. “I’m pretty much at the mercy of whatever the gas pump prices are.”
According to AAA, Kansas and Missouri have the cheapest gas prices in the nation. As of Thursday, Kansas is the cheapest at $3.80 and Missouri is the second cheapest at $3.81. Oklahoma, Arkansas and Nebraska round out the top five.
“If you are traveling or taking a road trip quite a ways from home, you might save some money by filling up before you leave or in some of the surrounding states rather than on the road,” Chabarria said.
Other tips to save money on gas include slowing down, avoiding hard stops and not idling the engine. Gas mileage usually decreases over 50 mph, hard starts increase fuel consumption and idling to warm up the engine is unnecessary and wastes fuel. It also helps to plan out errands and carpool when possible.
Chabarria said when it comes to gas prices, three main factors determine what is paid at the pump. He said 50% to 60% of the price is driven by crude oil prices. The rest is determined by state fuel taxes and the marketing and distribution costs of each gas station.
“Since (last week), we haven’t really seen any more increases for the gas price across the nation and in Missouri,” Chabarria said. “They’ve actually come down — very small, not really going to be felt — but come down by a few pennies. So, at least it’s trending in a helpful direction.”
This is due in large part to crude oil prices slowly beginning to drop, but Chabarria said unfortunately gas prices rise a lot quicker than they fall.