The next three days could well see more drivers hit the road, drawn by steady, if unspectacular, downward-trending gas prices.
On the East Coast, gas prices were down 0.04% week over week, as of May 21, to $3.71. The Midwest saw a decline to $3.62, or 0.015%. On the Gulf Coast, prices dipped to $3.49 from $3.56 the previous week, a decline of 0.069%, while in the Rockey Mountain region, prices were down by a penny to $3.75. The West coast, home to the highest gas prices in the U.S., also experienced a penny drop in gas prices to $4.24.
Drivers in the U.S. Gulf Coast, and the lower Atlantic states are seeing the biggest drop in gas prices -- good news as hundreds of thousands of travelers hit the beaches between Virginia and Florida this weekend.
The same holds true up north, as drivers hitting Cape Cod beaches and Vermont mountain resorts will pay less at the pump, as well.
Typically, consumers in the highly populated East Coast pay less than consumers on the West Coast, as more refineries dot the landscape back east, making it cheaper to transport gas to consumers. That’s one reason why gas prices are down, on average, 0.13% from May 2011 to May 2012 along the East Coast, and are up by 2% out west, according to the EIA.
When they do hit those roads, there are direct ways that consumers can save even more on gas.
According to American Petroleum Institute chief economist John Felmy, the key is efficiency, and the more it is deployed by drivers, the bigger the savings.
“Consumers can help trim demand -- and put downward pressure on prices -- by using gasoline and other fuels more efficiently,” he said in a May 23 conference call with journalists.
What do Felmy and the API suggest? Here’s a look at some gas-saving tips any driver can use this weekend to cut costs:
- Get a tune-up – and do so regularly (every three or four months is optimal).
- Keep your tires properly inflated (a tip made famous by President Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign).
- Drive slowly, and avoid stops and starts (they suck up gasoline).
- Moderate your air conditioning usage.
- Plan your trip in advance, use a GPS or map your destination out online before you go, so you don’t get lost, or get stuck in traffic, and waste excessive gas.
Call it common sense, but anyway you look at it, a few tweaks in your travel habits can help save a few bucks on the road this weekend, even as gas prices continue to dip.