(Victor Valley) – If there is one thing that seems to be on everyone’s mind lately it is the seemingly meteoric rise in gas prices over the last week or so. The average price of gas in San Bernardino County, according to gasbuddy.com is $4.26 per gallon, up from $4.01 a week ago, and $3.68 a month ago.
Jeffrey Spring, spokesman for the Automobile Club of Southern California, explained some of reasons behind the rise in prices, “A little over a week ago a large refinery up in Washington state caught fire. That means the refinery will be shut down for a number of weeks until they repair the damage. And it does provide a lot of the gasoline to this market. That’s what really has been pushing up our gasoline up this week.”
“Other refineries here in California have been reducing their production capacity because of maintenance, which they usually do during January and February because demand usually is lowest.”
Also events going on internationally, especially with of all the saber rattling going on in the Middle East, Smith says, tends to cause a lot of uncertainty in the market.
So, what can we do to save money on gas? Here are a few tips from the Automobile Club:
- Shop around for gas online and plan your gas purchases accordingly. AAA’s online Triptik or Gasbuddy.com, GasPriceWatch.com, Gas Prices from Mapquest, FuelEconomy.gov and many other web sites offer users the option to search for local gas stations with different prices by zip code. The web sites are an easy way to find the closest and cheapest gas stations online.
- Plan your trips. Make sure you’re using the shortest route and if possible, find a single shopping center where you can accomplish several errands at once. Call ahead or inquire online if you are looking for a particular item instead of driving from location to location.
- Get the junk out of the trunk. Sports equipment, work files and other heavy items in your trunk aren’t always necessary to carry around and will reduce your fuel economy by about 2 percent per extra 100 pounds.
- Check your tires every other fill-up. Under-inflated tires will reduce your fuel economy by 2 percent per pound of pressure below the recommended level, and will also shorten the life of the tire.
- Avoid speeding. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that drivers who travel more than 60 miles per hour are reducing their fuel economy anywhere from seven to 23 percent.