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Consumer Archive

Consumer

Follow fill-up tips as gas prices rise

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MADISON, Wis. (3/9/11)--You’ve probably felt the sting of climbing gas prices in recent weeks. The national average is $3.38 a gallon--19 cents more than last week and 68 cents more than one year ago, according to the Department of Energy. Fortunately, you can take steps to lessen the financial burden. Use these strategies to save money on gas, even as prices soar.
* Use online tools and apps. Websites like GasBuddy.com compile gas prices in your neighborhood. Type in your ZIP Code to find the station with the lowest price near you. GasBuddy also offers mobile apps for the iPhone, Android devices, and Windows phones (ABCNews.com Feb. 28). * Avoid brand names. Prices often are cheaper at independent stations that are not affiliated with oil companies or gas brands, because they buy gas from more than one company (Bankrate.com Feb. 25). * Don’t fill up near the highway. It’s all about location: Gas stations near freeways or highways often demand higher prices for their convenience. To find a lower price, put some miles between you and the highway before you fill up (WalletPop.com Feb. 25). * Take advantage of reward programs. Some grocery stores partner with chain gas stations to offer fuel discounts to shoppers. And if you belong to membership-based stores, like Costco, you also may be able to find cheaper prices if you fill up at their stations. * Use cash. Find out if any gas stations in your area accept cash only or offer a cheaper price if you pay with cash. You often can find a lower price at these stations than you would at one that charges the same price for paying with cash or a credit card.
For more information, read “Why You Might Want a Small Euro Car” in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.