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3 tips to deal with higher gas prices

Yes, they're going to get worse. Gas is expected to exceed $4 a gallon this summer.

By Stacy Johnson Apr 5, 2011 4:28PM

This post comes from Karla Bowsher at partner site Money Talks News.

 

As gas prices have increased, so have consumers' reactions.

 

For example:

  • A recent press release (.pdf file) from the National Conference on Weights and Measures (yes, it's a real organization) says more of us are complaining about the accuracy of gas pumps. "Often, consumers give little thought to the accuracy of measurements on a scale, through a gas pump, or on a package label. However, when prices increase, consumers pay greater attention."
  • A recent report (.pdf file) by the American Public Transportation Association says more of us are willing to hop a bus. "If regular gas prices reach $4 a gallon across the nation, as many experts have forecasted, an additional 670 million passenger trips could be expected." Post continues after video.
  • Recent press releases from Cars.com and General Motors show an increased interest in fuel-efficient cars. Cars.com says the gas price spike has spurred a 70% jump in consumers' interest in hybrids and a 21% jump for compact cars, while GM says its 2011 sales of four-cylinder cars are already up 23% compared with four years ago.

One thing is clear: Gas prices stink more than gas itself -- and even the government admits it's only going to get worse. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (.pdf file), said last month that the average retail price would reach $3.70 a gallon during the 2011 peak season --- which starts this month -- and there was a 25% chance it could exceed $4 a gallon. Some experts now say $5-a-gallon gas is not out of the question.

So, what's a money-minded consumer to do? Among your options:

 

Ditch your car for a new one. If you can afford to replace your current gas guzzler with a more fuel-efficient car, there's perhaps no better time than now. Not only are gas prices expected to get even higher this year, they won't be any better next year either. The EIA expects prices to average $3.56 in 2011 and $3.57 in 2012.

 

Fortunately, TrueCar.com recently released its "Top 10 Most Fuel-Efficient Hybrids and Non-Hybrid Vehicles" list (.pdf file). If you want the most fuel-efficient hybrid, they say it's time to buy a Toyota Prius (49.6 mpg for $23,810 manufacturer's suggested retail price), or the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid, a Hyundai Elantra (33.1 mpg for $25,031 MSRP).

Ditch your car for the bus. If you can't afford a new car, perhaps it's time to try public transportation. Check out the American Public Transportation Association's fuel savings calculator. Putting a price tag on how much the bus could save you might make it a little easier to hop aboard. Once you're ready to try it, use their map to find public transit systems near you.

 

Cut costs on your own. If you can't afford a new fuel-efficient car and can't (or won't) use public transportation, there are plenty of ways you can cut back on gas while continuing to drive your current car. Money Talks News has mentioned these tricks many times, but one post is by far the most popular: "28 ways to save on gas you already know -- and maybe one you don't."

 

More from Money Talks News and MSN Money:

4Comments
Apr 9, 2011 2:21PM
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"Ditch your car for a new one."  Yeah, pretty obvious this is the business section.  Writers and editors approaching the problem from a "make consumers buy more, so businesses earn more" viewpoint.  Since 99% of Americans with an overpriced SUV or whatever are upside down, trading for a small car means that they will be adding 30%+ debt to the car's value. 

Better idea: ESPECIALLY with rising prices on small cars thanks to closed Japanese plants; buy a used compact car - go 5-6 years used, or more.  If your neck of the woods means all older cars are rusted out bombs, look for cars in the South or West and plan a mini-vacation.  Keep the SUV, because you will hate yourself for dumping it.  Run the tires off the used car and then sell it for $800 when you can't stand being in it anymore.

Apr 11, 2011 3:05PM
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Here's an idea!!---Suspend Fed. fuel taxes for 12-24 months & RAMP UP our own domestic fuel production and refinement  (  Obama & his liberal hack cronies should get on the ball!!! )
May 12, 2011 8:51PM
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Nationalize the oil industry. A big jump maybe but it will get rid of the billionaires squeezing us for greed. Congress refuses to control prices so get rid of them.
Apr 28, 2011 2:01PM
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"Ditch your car for a new one."  Tisk Tisk Tisk  You should always maintain the car you own instead of buying new.  This article must have been written by a typical liberal hippycrit.  They always seem to leave out the fact that the car you sell will still be driven by someone else which now puts 2 cars on the road instead of one. 

 

PS what is up with the liberal media machine pushing electric cars like a cureall for the real actual issues at hand?  This is why people are waking up to the horrid reporting coming from the left.

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