AleksandarNakic / iStock.com
AAA estimates that 42 million Americans will take a road trip of 50 miles or more on July 4, CNN reports. If it did, it would set a new record for people (and cars) on the road.
Gas prices are also expected to hit a new record on July 4 at about $4.75 a gallon, Forbes reported, citing a recent forecast from Patrick D. Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBudy. That price would represent a more than 50% increase from July 4, 2021, when the national average was $3.13 per gallon.
The good news (sort of): This year’s July 4th estimated price reflects the plunge in prices at the pump, with the national average rising above $5 a gallon in early June.
Of course, it’s hard to view the $4.75 per gallon gas price as cheap. If you plan to drive over the July 4th weekend, there are ways to reduce your gasoline bill. The easiest (and cheapest) option is to consider an “approach” which involves visiting a place not too far from where you live. Driving 30 miles instead of 300 can cut hundreds of dollars in your fuel bill.
Another trick is to avoid refueling at gas stations located off major highways.
“It’s usually best not to use the stops along the highway,” Elaine Edmonds, AAA’s director of public relations, told CNN Travel. “Drive a few miles down the road. Look for residential areas or remote rural areas.”
Even if you have to stop at an expensive gas station because you’re running out of fuel, don’t fill up the entire road. Pump up enough gas to get you somewhere where the stations are cheaper.
You can explore the cheapest gas prices in your area with navigation apps that display gas prices, including Google Maps, Waze, and AAA’s TripTik Travel Planner. If you don’t need the map feature, gas-specific apps from GasBuddy, Gas Guru, and Fuelio can also give you price information.
Another way to save money is by joining a warehouse or membership club, where you can save anywhere from 5 cents to 25 cents a gallon, MarketWatch reports, citing comments from Consumer Reports. With gas prices rising, you can quickly offset the cost of a warehouse club membership by filling your tank multiple times.
If your credit card offers cash back or gas rewards, using them to pay for gas can also help Save money at the pump. For example, MarketWatch notes that the Citi Custom Cash Card gives users 5% cashback on up to $500 spent — and 1% thereafter — in the highest eligible spending categories, which include gas stations.
More from GOBankingRates