(NEXSTAR) – As the average national gas price continues to tick higher, many drivers are looking for that dream gas station with absurdly low prices. But did you know that you can save money just by changing the way you drive?
On Friday, the national average hit $3.378 per gallon for regular gasoline, according to AAA. That’s up four cents from Monday, and, given the tight supply, there’s no relief at the pump in the near future.
Soaring gas prices didn’t affect all states equally last week, however. Since last Thursday, these states saw the biggest jumps in average: Connecticut (+13 cents), North Carolina (+13 cents), Florida (+13 cents), Rhode Island (+12 cents), New York (+12 cents), Tennessee (+12 cents), New Jersey (+12 cents), Massachusetts (+12 cents), New Hampshire (+11 cents) and Vermont (+10 cents).
If you live in the western United States, Illinois, Alaska or Hawaii, where gas prices are the highest, you may want to get creative to keep your fuel costs down. In fact, the opportunity to start saving some cash comes well before you reach the gas station.
According to AAA, these ten driving tips can help you minimize your bill:
- Got a heavy foot? Stop making “jackrabbit” starts and accelerating hard.
- Don’t idle. If your car is stopped for more than 60 seconds, shut off the engine to save gas.
- Red light coming up? Stop accelerating and let the car coast up to the signal until it’s time to brake.
- You may love your car dearly, but don’t waste money on premium fuel unless the manufacturer recommends or requires it.
- Not going on a week-long camping trip anytime soon? Take off those roof racks and top carriers that can have a major effect on gas mileage.
- Take it easy on the air conditioning. Even at highway speeds, open windows have less effect on fuel economy than the engine power needed to operate the air conditioning compressor.
- If you have a manual transmission, upshift as soon as you can and save fuel by “skip-shifting” when practical.
- Do you have timed traffic lights where you live? Slow down and sync up your vehicle’s speed with the green lights to conserve fuel.
- When accelerating, do it smoothly to let the automatic transmission upshift earlier, reducing the engine’s rpm and saving gas in the process.
- Keep your tires properly inflated — soft tires means the car needs to work more than it should. They also make handling more difficult, and increase the risk of a blowout in the long run.