Another Gas Price Roller Coaster: What to Do

GasPricesCaliFeb24

Gas prices in California shot up 6 cents overnight to $4.20 for a gallon of regular unleaded. That's the average for the state, according to AAA, and it's up an entire quarter from last week’s price of $3.95. The national average rose 3 cents overnight and 12 cents in a week to $3.64. The picture above was shot in Southern California early this morning by a Cars.com staffer.

Team this rapid rise to never-ending news reports about how prices are shooting up so dramatically, and you have drivers panicking once again about fuel efficiency and household costs.

Memories are short, though. Prices had been steadily declining nationwide since May 2011, when they hovered around the $4 mark. That followed — guess what? — a rapid surge in gas prices from February to March, when gas prices rose nearly 40 cents in a month. The difference this year is that the average price before the rapid rise is much higher, about 20 cents on average.

Despite the higher prices, drivers shouldn't panic.

While prices may hit $4 nationwide by the summer, there are ways to drive more efficiently. We developed a series of tips in 2008 when the national average first breached $4 a gallon. You can find them all below.

Car shoppers should not rush to trade in a gas guzzler for a high-mileage car just because of the high price at the pump. If you were already shopping for a new car, selecting a high-mileage vehicle is a good idea, but trading in a car before it makes financial sense won’t help your household budget.

There are also few deals on new, efficient models like the Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra or Toyota Prius.

Let's hope the past three years of roller coaster gas prices have hardened drivers to today's prices. Automakers have also upped their mileage during that time.

There are 18 2012 models with 40-mpg highway EPA figures that run on regular gas. That doesn't include eight other EVs and diesel models. In 2008, there were only three.

Gas Saving Tips

By David Thomas | February 24, 2012 | Comments (11)
Tags: In The News

Comments 

Amuro Ray

Panic? Why?

The sky's not falling...

The crazy Governor Brown hasn't raised all sort of taxes...yet...

No major earthquake...yet...

Amazon is still tax free in CA...for now...

When all those happen, then CA residents should really panic ;)

Wally1121

I have an upcoming vacation. I'm going to keep track of what my gas costs and send Obama a bill for the difference between what I pay and last month's prices. If he'd just approve more domestic production, we could have $2 gas again and get our economy back on track. Energy prices impact EVERYTHING.

Uk Diesel Driver

Oil prices are majorly controlled by speculation and fear in the market. Iran has just decided that it will stop selling oil to certain countries and this has driven up the price.

USA oil production is not large enough on a global scale. If the USA increase their production OPEC will scale back and you will just run out of oil quicker.

Amuro Ray

@Wally1121,

Oil prices have nothing to do with domestic production here in US. It's world market price, and it's CRUDE oil prices.

What you see at the pump is not the same as the crude oil prices.

Jeff

Good advice from Dave Thomas not to buy a more efficient vehicle unless you are going to buy a new vehicle anyway. It takes many years to recoup the savings from a more economical car when you count the depreciation of your old vehicle and the additional cost of a new vehicle. It is better to plan when you have to replace your vehicle to get a more efficient vehicle and buy something that you will be satisfied with over the long haul.

chubby

That only makes sense if gas prices are stable. If they are volatile or trending up wait for a lull inthe high pices and then dump the gashog for a hybrid. You save money from day one and it hedges you against future price spikes. Plus the resale value is excellent and if you drive for work the expense checks are money in the bank.

GEORGE POTTER

I would like to thank all of you with gas guzzling SUVs for driving up the price of gas. You have no right to gripe about the price increases, you cause them, shut up and drive.

Mark

Funny that no matter what the oil companies still manage to etch out a tidy profit. Starting to understand who the real criminals are now.

Shorebreak

The oil industry receives a taxpayer funded subsidy of $4 billion a year.

George

US oil production may be up, be we are exporting most of that.
Iran isn't cutting production, that was Saudi Arabia. Iran is just changing who they are selling to.

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