Gas prices are barreling towards $4.00 a gallon, and it’s not even Memorial Day, the holiday that normally kicks off the high summer gas season.
What’s driving the price spike?
You’ve heard it before: supply, and demand.
Supply has been shrinking for years – ever since the first oil well was tapped decades ago. But this year, supply is tighter than usual. An unprecedented number of refinery accidents, refinery outages due to maintenance, and drivers’ increasing gasoline demand are draining fuel tanks all over the country.
In fact, the amount of available gasoline fell by more than half this month, according to government figures. That’s not good news, even to people who drive gas-sipping hybrids.
What can you do?
I offer about 90 suggestions in my book, Beat High Gas Prices Now! The Fastest, Easiest Ways to Save $20-$50 Every Month on Gasoline. Some highlights:
* Get a tune-up if you haven’t had one in a while. You’ll improve fuel economy by at least 4.1%.
* Pumping up your tires will get you another 3%.
* Use cruise control if you do a lot of highway driving for as much as a 14% fuel economy gain.
* Skip the drive throughs. "Idling" is another way of saying "wasting gas."
* If you’re in the market for a new car, buy the most fuel-efficient vehicle in your price range. You can compare mileage at www.fueleconomy.gov.
Keep this in mind: after Hurricane Katrina in September 2005 pushed gas prices above $3/gallon for the first time, consumers conserved so much gasoline that demand dropped as much as 6.5 percent. You can save money, stabilize gas supply, and help bring prices back under control by using less gas – and still get where you want to go.
QUESTION: What works for you? Leave a comment with your best gas-saving suggestion.