Gas prices hit record high across nation

Published 6:13 pm Wednesday, March 16, 2022

The average price for gas remains above $4 per gallon and likely will remain above that mark for the foreseeable future.

On March 7, according to Gasbuddy.com, the national average average reached a new all-time high of $4.104 per gallon, which eclipsed the previous record of $4.103 set in 2008. That record high fell quickly by the wayside and the current national average is at $4.305 per gallon, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report. However, prices have declined slightly since Monday’s average of $4.32.

Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson, said the slight decline was due to the cost of crude oil falling to $110 per barrel.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“It bears reminding that the cost of oil accounts for about 50% of what drivers pay at the pump,” said Andrew Gross, AAA spokesperson. “This war is roiling an already tight global oil market and making it hard to determine if we are near a peak for pump prices, or if they keep grinding higher. It all depends on the direction of oil prices.”

According to the Energy Information Administration gasoline demand rose slightly from 8.74 million barrels per day to 8.96 million barrels per day. The increase in gas demand and a reduction in total supply contribute to rising pump prices, Gross said. Consumers can expect the current trend at the pump to continue as long as crude prices climb, he said.

While there’s not a lot any one person can do about the price of gas, there are some things people can do to get the most efficient use out of every gallon of gas.

According to AAA, there are some things motorists can do on their daily drive to help extend their fuel mileage:

• Keep tires properly inflated. Underinflation reduces fuel economy, but more importantly, tires low on air degrade handling and braking, wear more rapidly and can overheat and blowout.

• Slow down and drive the speed limit. On the highway, aerodynamic drag causes fuel economy to drop off significantly as speeds increase above 50 mph.

• Avoid “jackrabbit” starts and hard acceleration. These actions greatly increase fuel consumption.

• To idle or not to idle.

• Avoid extended idling to warm up the engine, even in winter. It’s unnecessary and wastes fuel.

• Avoid prolonged idling in general. If your car will be stopped for more than 60 seconds, shut off the engine to save fuel. Many newer cars have automatic engine stop-start systems that do this.

• When driving in town, adjust your speed to “time” the traffic lights. This reduces repeated braking and acceleration that consume additional fuel.

• When approaching a red light or stop sign, take your foot off the gas early and allow your car to coast down to a slower speed until it is time to brake.

• Accelerate smoothly with light to moderate throttle. This allows the automatic transmission to upshift into higher gears sooner, reducing engine rpm and saving fuel.

• Use cruise control to help maintain a constant speed and save fuel. However, never use cruise control on slippery roads because a loss of vehicle control could result.

• If your car has a manual transmission, upshift as soon as you can without “lugging” the engine. When practical, you can also save fuel by skip-shifting – for example, going directly from first gear to third.

• Minimize your use of air conditioning. Even at highway speeds, open windows have less effect on fuel economy than the engine power required to operate the air conditioning compressor.

• Plan ahead to accomplish multiple errands in one trip, and whenever possible travel outside high-traffic times of day.

• If you own more than one car, use the most fuel efficient model that meets the needs of any given journey.

• In hot weather, park in the shade or use a windshield sunscreen to lessen heat buildup inside the car. This reduces the need for air conditioning (and thus fuel) to cool down the car.

• Remove unnecessary and bulky items from your car. It takes more fuel to accelerate a heavier car, and the reduction in fuel economy is greater for small cars than larger models.

• Minimize your use of roof racks and remove special carriers when not in use. On the highway even an empty bike, canoe or ski rack can reduce fuel economy, and a loaded rack or car-top container will have a major effect on gas mileage.

• AAA research has found that unless premium fuel is recommended or required by your car’s manufacturer, it provides no added benefit. Motorists should refer to their vehicle’s owner’s manual to check which type of gasoline is recommended for their engine.