Preventing pain at the pump

VIDEO: Preventing pain at the pump

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - We're almost over the summer driving hump which is good news. Gas prices typically start dropping.  Gas prices are up 50 cents though compared to this time last year according to GasBuddy.

"There's no doubt that having a vehicle costs and that most people say it's one of the lousiest investments you can have but it is a necessity," Dan McTeague a Senior Petroleum Analyst with GasBuddy said.

The amount you pay for gas depends on where you fill up. Earlier this week in our area regular was $2.79 a gallon at a Chevron in Homewood. We found gas 30 cents cheaper just four miles away at $2.52 at an Exxon in Birmingham.

Your best bet to save money at the pump is by using a number of gas-saving apps. They help you find the cheapest gas in your zip code with allows you to earn points.

One way to quickly earn points towards gas savings is by using price reporting on the GasBuddy app. In other words, making sure the price on the app is the same at the pump. If the price is different at the station, you can change it in the app which allows you to collect hundreds of points.

The points add up fast. You can use them to enter to win a $100 gas gift card. Winners are drawn daily. McTeague says his tank and bank account thank him for having these type apps.

"On average I was saving about nine to 10 cents a gallon just by having the app which didn't cost me a penny," McTeague said.

You can also pump up the savings in more practical ways. How you drive could save you money.  Slowing down can save money. Experts say fuel economy drops above 60 miles per hour and really takes a nosedive at speeds over 70. Slowing down from 70 to 55 could mean savings of 15%.

Another tip, don't floor it when the light turns green. You could see savings of 25% or more. And if your trunk is full, clean it out! Extra weight wastes gas.

"Like the Eagles used to say..take it easy. Loosen that load. Try to make sure you're not driving with more than what you need. Understand that speed does, in fact, create greater consumption and that means spending more," McTeague added.

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