As gas prices hit highest mark of the year, here's how you can stretch your dollar

Tips to maximize fuel economy
Posted at 6:50 AM, Sep 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-01 08:17:51-04

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- Gas prices have reached the highest mark of 2017 as Hurricane Harvey shut down the gulf refineries ahead of one of the biggest travel weekends of the year.

According to the American Automotive Association (AAA), the national average for a gallon of unleaded gasoline is now $2.45.

Hurricane Harvey forced operators to close or reduce production at refineries and pipelines in and around Texas. Each year, the increased demand for gasoline over the Labor Day holiday weekend contributes to a rising average gas price.

You can expect to pay these higher prices at the pump for about a month, the AA predicts. Gas prices could rise another five to 10 cents over the early weeks of September, then taper off toward the end of the month.

So, how can you make the most of your dollar? 41 Action News gathered the following tips from the U.S. Department of Energy and various gas price monitoring websites.

  • Avoid gas stations at major intersections or in congested areas. Prices are generally higher at those locations.
  • Turn off the air conditioner while driving. It cuts down on your engine’s efficiency.
  • Use cruise control for long trips.
  • Keep windows rolled up. That improves your car’s aerodynamics.
  • Don’t use oils or additives marketed to improve fuel economy. The Federal Trade Commission does not endorse any of those products.
  • Avoid accelerating and braking suddenly. That can lower fuel economy by as much as 40 percent in touch-and-go traffic.
  • Turn your engine off instead of idling. It uses more gas to idle for one minute than to start most cars.

Gas Buddy reports the average gallon of gasoline costs $2.42 in Missouri and $2.39 in Kansas. The cheapest gas price we found in the metro area was $2.09 out in Leavenworth.

You can find the cheapest gas in your area by using our KC metro gas prices tool