If you let out an audible gasp when you filled up your car with gas recently, you're not alone. Gas prices have jumped 13 cents per gallon on average across the nation in the last week and nearly 30 cents per gallon on average from a month ago, according to the Energy Information Administration. The increasing prices are due to reduced refining capacity and rising oil prices, while tension in the Middle East and speculators are further driving up gas costs.
Analysts are saying that gas prices will continue to climb, reaching $5 per gallon in more areas than in the last gas price spike in the summer of 2008. Currently, gas prices are highest in California, averaging $4.29 per gallon of regular unleaded, a 26 cent increase from last week. The cheapest gas is in Colorado, averaging $3.15 per gallon of regular unleaded, a 6 cent jump from the prior week.
Even though gas prices have started rising fairly recently, Americans are already responding by driving less. The Department of Energy said that gas consumption last month was at its lowest levels since April 1997.
With gas prices higher than ever, make sure your car is getting the best fuel economy possible by following these five tips.
Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.