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  /  News   /  Gas prices near a Thanksgiving record — try these 5 tricks to save as fuel costs surge

Gas prices near a Thanksgiving record — try these 5 tricks to save as fuel costs surge

Gas prices near a Thanksgiving record — try these 5 tricks to save as fuel costs surge

While you’ll probably end Thanksgiving weekend a bit heavier than before, your wallet will probably be a bit lighter.

That’s because the nationwide average price of gas now tops $3.40 a gallon — about $1.30 more than last year, says auto club AAA.

Prices are so high that President Joe Biden asked regulators to probe whether oil and gas companies were involved in “illegal conduct,” and some Americans are planning to skip roadtrips and stay at home on Thanksgiving.

Here are some factors driving prices near record levels and what you can do to save if you are braving the roads this year.

Closing in on a new record

ALPA PROD / Shutterstock

Current prices are “just cents away from the highest Thanksgiving gas prices ever recorded,” says Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at fuel savings app GasBuddy, in a release.

“Americans are responding to the prices by slamming the car door shut and staying off the road.”

Based on a recent survey, GasBuddy expects just a third of Americans will travel for Thanksgiving this year, a slight decline from 2020 and way down from two-thirds in 2019.

Half of those staying at home pointed to high gas prices as a major factor.

Biden takes aim at providers

watt indeed / Shutterstock

Responding to the uproar over high prices, President Biden called on federal regulators last week to investigate whether the fuel companies are profiting illegally.

“The bottom line is this: gasoline prices at the pump remain high, even though oil and gas companies’ costs are declining,” Biden says in a letter to the Federal Trade Commission.

Biden notes the price of unfinished gasoline has dipped slightly over the last month, while prices at the pump have gone up. The White House estimates that, based on historical averages, Americans should be spending a quarter less per gallon.

Meanwhile, the industry maintains that prices remain high because supply is taking time to catch up to rising demand as the economy recovers.

How to budget for pain at the pumps

Jeremy Bentham / Shutterstock

Whatever happens over the next week, there’s no disputing that gas prices are already burning a hole in the family budget.

A good way to fight higher fuel costs is by scouting around for lower prices, because what you pay can vary by up to $1 a gallon within the typical metro area, GasBuddy says.

But gas isn’t the only Thanksgiving travel expense that will be higher this year. AAA says rates at mid-range hotels have surged 39%, while rental cars are about 4% more expensive.

Here are four additional ways to save money and protect your budget from the rising cost of getting around.

Stop overpaying online. It’s impossible to find the best price on your own when there are thousands of stores on the internet. A free browser extension automatically applies coupon codes and tracks down lower prices when you shop online.

Land a better mortgage rate. Interest rates remain historically low for now. If you refinance, you may be able to save hundreds each month and thousands over the lifespan of your loan.

Consolidate high interest debt. With interest rates as bad as 20% — or even worse — credit cards make it easy to fall into debt. Combining all of your balances into one loan with a much lower interest rate can help you save hundreds and free yourself from debt faster.

Turn pennies into a portfolio. Even if you don’t have much money to spare, you can still build a portfolio from today’s runaway stock market. A popular app will help you invest your “spare change” from everyday purchases.

This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.

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