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Gas prices rise as drivers hit the road for spring break: AAA

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Gas prices increased during the last week of February and are likely to keep rising as drivers hit the road for the spring break holidays, according to the latest AAA report. 

The national average cost for a gallon of gas increased to $3.31 per gallon even as oil costs dropped 33 cents to settle at $78.54 a barrel. The higher fuel cost is mainly due to increased demand as supply stocks dropped, AAA said. 

Gas demand increased from 8.2 to 8.47 million barrels per day, while stocks fell by 2.8 million bbl to 244.2 million bbl, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) data.  

“We’re entering Spring Break season, and historically, March and April bring higher gas prices as demand rises,” AAA spokesperson Aixa Diaz said. “With milder temperatures come more road trips, and this time of year tends to be a precursor to the summer driving season.”

If you’re trying to lower your overall auto costs, you could consider switching auto insurance providers. You can visit Credible to compare quotes from different companies without affecting your credit score. 

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These states saw the biggest rise in gas prices

Gas costs for motorists nationwide fluctuated, with some states tallying higher averages than others. These states saw the most significant swings in pump prices:

  • Oregon (+22 cents)
  • Wisconsin (+17 cents)
  • Washington (+16 cents)
  • Michigan (+14 cents)
  • Illinois (+13 cents)
  • Indiana (+13 cents)
  • Minnesota (+11 cents)
  • California (+11 cents)
  • Ohio (−11 cents)
  • Idaho (+10 cents)

The most expensive markets for gas in the country include the following 10 states:

  • California ($4.74)
  • Hawaii ($4.70)
  • Washington ($4.08)
  • Nevada ($3.98)
  • Oregon ($3.82)
  • Illinois ($3.64)
  • Alaska ($3.55)
  • Pennsylvania ($3.49)
  • Washington, DC ($3.42)
  • Arizona ($3.41)

Shopping for cheaper auto insurance is another way drivers can lower the cost of owning a car. You could consider changing your auto insurance provider if you want to save money on your auto costs. Visit Credible to find your personalized premium without affecting your credit score.

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Tips to boost your fuel efficiency

Drivers hitting the road this spring break can cut costs by spending less on fuel, according to a GasBuddy report. Optimizing your vehicle for gasoline consumption is one way to save on gas costs. Here are five common mistakes drivers make that lower their fuel economy:

Inflate your tires properly

Keeping your tires inflated adequately can prevent car damage and improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. One way to ensure you are doing this is by checking your tire pressure regularly. The U.S. Department of Energy has proven that under-inflated tires hurt your car’s fuel consumption and for every unit of psi your tires are under pressure, you can expect a 0.4% drop in fuel efficiency. 

Go easy on your AC

Try cracking a window instead of cranking the air conditioning in your car to save money on road trips. AC usage can increase fuel consumption, both when you’re driving and idling. According to the EPA, using AC can reduce fuel economy by up to 25% in the worst conditions.  

Carry a lighter load

Your vehicle’s weight can also significantly affect what you pay for gas. The heavier the car, the more energy it requires to move. Weight can also increase a vehicle’s rolling resistance, the force created by friction as your car’s wheels roll over the road. Lighten the load that you are carrying to help your vehicle move with less effort.  

Practice steady driving

Poor driving habits that accelerate or slow your driving suddenly can decrease your fuel efficiency on the highway by as much as 25%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. For every five miles above 50 you travel on the road, you waste an extra $0.20 in gas. 

Take care of your car

Regular car maintenance is crucial to developing better fuel economy – without it, your car won’t run as efficiently. Take your vehicle for routine maintenance, and always address oil changes and engine lights. 

Another way to lower your overall cost of car ownership is by shopping for cheaper auto insurance to reduce your monthly premiums. Visit Credible to compare your options without affecting your credit score.

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Have a finance-related question, but don’t know who to ask? Email The Credible Money Expert at moneyexpert@credible.com and your question might be answered by Credible in our Money Expert column.

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