Got Gas?

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I just spent a whirlwind week traveling coast to coast for family matters. Can I just say, it’s great coming home to our own home, our own bed and our pretty cheap gas state!  Do you remember back in 2008 when regular unleaded gas was hovering around $4.00 per gallon? Oh, I do. I rented an RV and almost had to take out a second mortgage to fill it up each time I stopped at a gas station. It was like $700 per fill up and the pump would only let you put a few hundred on your credit card each time I pumped. Prices are a lot lower these days and our capitol city has some of the lowest fuel prices in the country at $2.94 (GasBuddy). The app reported last week that Provo was @$3.13, Ogden $3.16 and state average was $3.19 per gallon of regular.

Why are prices low? First, remember they will always peak around holidays. We just celebrated Memorial Day and demand for gas was high. AAA predicted that 43 million people were going to take to the roads to celebrate. We’ve got the 4th of July, the 24th of July and Labor Day as the three big travel weekends which will pump prices up.  We’ve got a high inventory of crude and CNBC reports that “refineries are going to be running, running, running, running about 300,000 barrels a day and the Gulf Coast adding about a million barrels a day over the next several weeks.” If you haven’t tried to travel to the Midwest section of the country, there are massive floods and tornadoes destroying lives, property, businesses and a huge part of our economy. Ethanol comes from this part of the U.S. and it won’t be getting to the West Coast as easily as when the roads were clear earlier this year.

I have a hybrid car. I made the change in an attempt to make at least a tiny impact on my carbon footprint here. I cruised the web for suggestions to save gas, and the majority of info boiled down to driving habits: drive less (duh), buy gas early or late in the day (the hotter the day the less dense the gas), avoid gas stations on the highway on and off-ramps, don’t accelerate quickly, don’t idle (yes, Salt Lake has a NO IDLING ordinance), keep tires properly inflated, filters changed and engine tuned up, try not to use your AC as much and plan to get a less gas-guzzling car in the future. Plus, apps like GasBuddy, Fuel Finder, Gas Cubby and SmartFuel help you find the best prices of petrol near you. And I really like that Smiths (Kroger stores) gives me money off the pump when I buy groceries and gas at their stores. I find that I’m often paying $.20-40 less per gallon when I fill up there.