California’s gas prices remain nation’s highest; these driving tips can help you save money

California
Gas prices nearing $5.00 per gallon are displayed at Valero and Chevron stations on October 12, 2021 in Mill Valley. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Gas prices nearing $5.00 per gallon are displayed at Valero and Chevron stations on October 12, 2021 in Mill Valley. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

As one of only two states above the $4 per gallon mark, California’s gas prices continue to be, on average, the most expensive in this U.S.

The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline (87) in California is currently about $4.54, an increase of about 5 cents since a week ago, AAA reports. The average is also just 13 cents off the state’s recorded high of $4.67 on Oct., 9 2012.

The most expensive gas can be found in Mono County, which is the only county in the Golden State to have an average above $5 per gallon, according to AAA.

Nationwide, gas prices are around $3.38, an increase of about 6 cents from a week ago and 20 cents from a month ago.

So why is gas so expensive?

“With the U.S. economy slowly recovering from the depths of the pandemic, demand for gas is robust, but the supply is tight,” Andrew Gross, a spokesperson for the Auto Club, explained Monday.

“We haven’t seen prices this high since September of 2014,” he added.

With gas continuing to soar, motorists are looking for ways to save money. But while many drivers hunt for the best deal around on gas, there’s actually other ways that they can help lessen fuel costs even before they reach the gas station — typically by getting more creative while behind the wheel, according to the Auto Club.

AAA has some driving tips to help motorists minimize how much they spend on gas:

  • Keep to the speed limit. Fuel economy actually drops off significantly as speeds rise above 50 mph due to aerodynamic drag.
  • 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, which all 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.

More fuel economy tips can be found at AAA.

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