Gas Prices Rising Across TX, Tips On Conserving Gas

Gas prices continue to rise across the state because of a strong demand and not enough inventory, according to AAA Texas.

The statewide gas price average in Texas I $2.54 a gallon for regular unleaded. The price is six cents more than this day last week, according to AAA.

Drivers in Midland are paying an average of $2.70 a gallon while drivers in San Antonio are paying $2.39 a gallon, the least out of most of the major metropolitan cities in the state.

The national gas price average for unleaded is $2.78 which is seven cents more than this day last week and 11 cents more than this time last year, according to AAA.

El Paso saw the largest weekly jump where drivers are paying 19 cents more for a gallon of unleaded gas while drivers in Sherman and Denison areas are experiencing the largest increase from one year ago.

"Every metropolitan area across Texas saw an increase in gas prices this week," said Daniel Armbruster, AAA Texas/AAA New Mexico spokesperson. "With spring driving season well underway, demand for retail gasoline is only expected to increase which will likely drive prices at the pump even higher through April."

Here are some tips that AAA recommends to drivers to conserve on gas:

Driving style and vehicle operation recommendations include:

Optimizing your daily driving.  Maintain steady speeds. A car uses extra fuel accelerating.  Cruise control may be a fuel saving option for motorists who drive a lot because a steady speed conserves fuel.  This is helpful when driving on level roads.  However, cruise control hurts mileage if you drive on hilly terrain. 

Minimizing last-minute braking. Anticipate traffic conditions. Be alert for slow-downs and red lights and coast up to them, if possible. Drive smoothly, avoiding "jackrabbit starts." The faster you drive, the more fuel used. Remember, however, that traveling slower than traffic flow can cause a safety hazard.

Making sure you're shopping around.  Looking for low gasoline prices in their local communities may save motorists money. Consumers can easily shop around online or on a mobile device by using the free AAA app, which automatically displays the lowest gas price near the user on the home screen.  Traveling long distances to save a few cents wastes fuel and may cost motorists more money.

Don't haul extra weight in the passenger compartment or trunk.  Reducing extra weight can save up to 2% fuel economy for every 100 lbs. removed depending on the weight of the vehicle. Also lose the roof rack, if not used regularly. Carrying things on a roof rack increases aerodynamic drag and reduces fuel economy - year-round.

Using the air conditioner only when necessary. Air conditioning reduces fuel economy by about 5 percent or more in an older model vehicle. The rule of thumb on hot days is to open your windows when you are driving slowly (under about 45 mph) but close them and turn on the air conditioner at higher freeway speeds. Driving with the windows open can increase the aerodynamic drag, and this effect increases proportionately with speed.

More tips to save gasoline and money include:

Read your owner's manual for the recommended fuel for your vehicle. If it says "regular unleaded gasoline" is recommended, using anything else is a wallet-drainer, and if it says "premium required" you must use it for proper vehicle operation. (However, when your manual says mid-grade or premium "recommended," read carefully; sometimes it indicates you can use regular unleaded to save money, but you may experience reduced power and/or a small reduction in fuel economy.)

Look into gas rebate programs and other credit cards that provide a rebate every time you fill up. Some grocery stores also provide a gasoline discount program.

For families that have more than one vehicle, select the most fuel-efficient vehicle that meets the task at hand. Don't automatically jump into the SUV or truck when the sedan will do. Use the most energy-conserving vehicle you own as much as possible.  Consider renting a fuel-efficient vehicle for vacations and long trips to save on fuel costs. Conversely, consider renting a full-size truck instead of buying it if you only need its capabilities occasionally.

Consolidate errands to cut down on driving and number of miles driven. Plan your route and look for a location where you can take care of all or most errands. Avoid excessive idling.  Parking your vehicle and walking into the store or restaurant instead of using a drive through will save gas and the walking may improve your health. Choose a shopping center where you can park and walk to most of the stores you need.

Look at your work schedule; can you shift your working hours to avoid bumper-to- bumper traffic? Is car-pooling an option? Both can save gas and reduce vehicle wear.

Comparison shop by telephone, the Internet or through newspaper ads to reduce driving.

Properly maintaining your vehicle is critical in reducing gas use; Under-inflated tires, for example, can cut fuel economy by up to 2 percent per pound of pressure below the minimum recommended level. Worn spark plugs and dirty air filters also increase fuel consumption.

For more information you can visit www.AAA.com.

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