Americans are expected to spend roughly $4.7 billion on gas during the Friday through Monday of Memorial Day weekend, according to GasBuddy, an app and website focused on finding real-time fuel prices.
That breaks down to about $1.18 billion spent on gas each day, give or take $1 million, Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, tells CNBC Make It.
GasBuddy predicts the national average price of gasoline will be $2.98 per gallon during Memorial Day weekend, the highest price on record for the May holiday weekend since 2014 when gas hit $3.66 per gallon. (AAA is reporting slightly higher averages at $3.04 per gallon, as of Thursday.)
"Gas prices have been increasing for months due to the continued rise in gasoline demand as a myriad of destinations reopen ahead of the summer driving season. The Colonial Pipeline shutdown only highlighted how much more reliant consumers have become on gasoline since the pandemic hit," De Haan says.
Gas prices should start to ease up after Memorial Day, but De Haan warns that a rebound may happen and gasoline prices could rise again around the middle of summer.
If you are planning a road trip this summer, here are a few tips to help you save at the pump.
1. Compare prices
Whether it's through GasBuddy or other driving apps that show local gas costs, such as the AAA Mobile app or Waze, it's worth looking around for the best price. A small difference can add up.
The average summer road trip is 568 miles round trip, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Assuming you have a car with an average 12-gallon gas tank, you'd be saving over $20 if you shave off just 5 cents per fill-up.
You should also be aware that fuel prices can fluctuate by location. AAA recommends getting gas before you arrive at your destination because many popular beach and vacation locations tend to have more expensive gas prices.
2. Make sure your car maintenance is up-to-date
The condition of your car can affect how much you spend on gas. A poorly tuned engine can burn more fuel, while brake drag can force your engine to work harder and cause higher gas consumption, the Department of Energy says. Edmunds also found that driving on underinflated tires cuts fuel economy by almost 4%.
Before you hit the road, AAA recommends getting your battery, engine and tires checked.
3. Drive calmly
Being a zen driver can not only reduce your stress, but it may also help you save on gas. That's because driving aggressively with lots of lane-changing, braking and rapid acceleration can increase fuel consumption by 30% on the highway.
Driving over 50 miles per hour can also have an impact because it increases the vehicle's wind resistance. For every five miles per hour you drive over 50, you're likely paying an additional $0.21 for gas.
4. Take advantage of loyalty programs
Most gas loyalty programs are free to join and offer either direct savings or points you can cash in.
BP and Amoco stations offer the BPme program, which starts users off saving 5 cents per gallon. Exxon, Mobil, Shell, Circle K and Speedway all have worthwhile rewards programs as well.
Additionally, some grocery chains, such as Costco, Giant Eagle and Kroger, offer fuel discounts and perks to shoppers.
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