Gas prices have been steadily climbing since February and remain near 2016 highs, according to the latest Fuel Gauge Report from AAA. The average price per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline is $2.22.
Today’s average price represents an increase of 11 cents per gallon over last month, though gas prices continue to remain nearly 50 cents per gallon cheaper than last year, making driving an attractive means of travel, particularly when faced with long lines at the airport.
AAA expects demand to increase as the summer driving season approaches. Gas prices are rising, the automobile club says, due to “more expensive crude oil costs brought about by wildfires in Canada and supply disruptions in other oil-producing countries.”
Despite these conditions, this summer is an ideal time to hit the road. Patrick DeHaan, an analyst at GasBuddy.com, says, “This summer will likely be the cheapest summer at the pump in the last decade or longer, and by next summer, gasoline prices will likely have rebounded.”
Drivers on the West Coast pay the most for gas. The nation’s top five most expensive states are: California ($2.80), Hawaii ($2.67), Washington ($2.55), Alaska ($2.52), and Nevada ($2.48). The least expensive state to buy gas is Arkansas, where the average cost per gallon is $1.99.
AAA says maintaining steady speeds improves your fuel economy. Use cruise control as much as possible to help maintain a constant speed, and avoid quick starts and sudden stops, which waste fuel. At the pump, fill your tank with regular gasoline to keep costs low unless your vehicle’s engine requires premium fuel.
If you’re planning a roadtrip for your summer vacation, avoid driving during peak travel times and choose routes that are least likely to have congestion. Before you leave, download apps like Waze or Google Maps that gather real-time traffic conditions from other drivers and reroute you to avoid gridlock. To save money on fuel, download the GasBuddy app, which will tell you where to find the lowest gas prices near you.