KANSAS CITY, Mo. — We're all paying more than ever for gas right now.
The current national average for regular gas is just over $5, at $5.01, according to AAA. Right now in Missouri, it's $4.68 and in Kansas, it's $4.67.
Compared to a week ago, it was $4.49 in Missouri and $4.50 in Kansas. A month ago, it was $4.04 in Missouri and $3.98 in Kansas.
In this 360 story, we hear from multiple perspectives to help you save money, including:
- A financial coach
- A repair shop owner about ways to make your vehicle efficient
- A technology company helping you plan your commute
- Those finding a different way to get around
- Drivers who use reward programs or memberships to save at the pump
Drivers who use reward programs or memberships
KSHB 41 News spoke with Joe Paduck who uses the Hy-Vee Fuel Saver and Perks program.
"Even though it's a few cents off, it's in your pocket, so you save a little bit, so it helps out quite a bit," Paduck said.
The program is free and you rack up discounts on gas when you buy certain items at Hy-Vee.
"Sometimes I get a good benefit from it, sometimes not so much," Paduck said.
You could also sign up for a membership at a wholesale retailer like Sam's Club or Costco.
Often times, their gas is much lower than a regular gas station. Arel Bansil has seen the impact of the savings.
"I'm saving maybe 20 cents a gallon, so, it's still substantial if you think about it, especially when you're driving a truck," Bansil said.
While Bansil tries to save at the pump, he and his wife still had to reconfigure their budget.
"Our monthly gas budget went from $400, to now it's $500," Bansil said.
Financial Coach Latoya Woods said adjusting your budget could mean cutting entertainment expenses.
"Maybe you can cut that in half, or maybe look for free entertainment and allocate that money towards your gas," Woods said.
She also recommends planning out your trips, maximizing your time out and staying close to home.
"Planning is a real essential piece before we can just get in our car, just drive across town, I want to go here, go there. Now with the gas prices being up, it's being more purposeful about where you're going and what you're doing, why you're out," Woods said.
Many of us use apps like Google Maps to get to our destination. Google Maps now has a feature showing the most fuel-efficient route. Those routes can have less traffic, fewer hills and more constant speeds on the road.
"With just a few taps, you'll see the relative fuel savings and ETA differences between two routes so you can select which one makes sense for you," said Molly VandenBerg, Communications Manager for Google.
VandenBerg said the feature on Google Maps launched last fall.
"We certainly hope that this feature will help save money when they're planning their routes in terms of road trips," VandenBerg said.
Technology can also pinpoint the cheapest gas prices. Take for instance, GasBuddy or Gas Guru, showing the lowest and highest prices nearby.
Repair shop owner
With gas costing more, some of us may have put off maintaining our cars.
Alan Heriford with Johnson County Automotive explained a few ways to make your car more efficient. Those include changing your air filter, replacing spark plus and keeping the right amount of air in your tires.
"That's a big one, believe it or not. Having air properly inflated tires will help with your efficiency as well," Heriford said.
Heriford also said you might need to change your driving habits.
"You can drive like a hot rod and it's going to suck that gasoline pretty quick, or you can drive it like 'Driving Miss Daisy' and it's going to do a little bit better for you as far as efficiency is concerned," Heriford said.
AAA echoes that advice. Along with slowing down and driving the speed limit, AAA also recommends using cruise control on the highway to save on fuel.
When you're driving in town, adjust your speed to time the traffic lights so you don't have to constantly brake and accelerate.
Those finding a different way to get around
Public transportation is another option to consider. In Kansas City, the KC Streetcar is free.
KSHB 41 News spoke with Jack Crisman who uses the electric fleet when he's not commuting to work in Lee's Summit.
"Whenever I go to the grocery store, I just take the streetcar. Whenever I'm going anywhere downtown, I usually take the streetcar," Crisman said.
Crisman prefers to take public transportation when he can.
"Even with the gas prices when they were lower, but especially now that I'm spending so much on gas, its definitely helped out a lot," Crisman said.
The KC Streetcar has two miles of track with 16 platform stops downtown.
The Kansas City Streetcar Authority explained the zero fare policy is helpful especially right now.
"Now, you can save that money and maybe put it back into your gas tank when you do need to use your car," said Donna Mandelbaum, Kansas City Streetcar Authority Communications Director.
You can also get relief from the high gas prices by using the RideKC bus system. It's also free.
Some are ditching their car and switching to a different kind of pedal.
Christina Decker with Midwest Cyclery recently saw an influx of customers. She explained what they've told her.
"I'm parking my car. I'm selling my car. I've moved to the city. I don't need my car. Can't afford gas. Let me get a bike," Decker said.
As part of KSHB 41 News' commitment to providing context and depth in our reporting, we've excited to share our latest project, which we're calling 360. This project takes stories and topics that our communities are talking about and explores different perspectives on the issue. You can be a part of the process by e-mailing your ideas and thoughts to us at email@example.com.