Gas prices spike as oil prices hit 14-year highs

According to AAA, Thursday’s national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.728, which is seven cents more than on Wednesday and 18 cents higher than last Thursday. Some local areas have seen prices spike even higher.

The increase comes amid an increase in demand for gasoline and the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia. On Wednesday, West Texas Intermediate ended the day at $110.60 per barrel after briefly hitting $116.57, a high that hasn’t been seen since 2008.

“Consumers should prepare in case gasoline prices rise even further,” said Jim Garrity, director of public affairs, AAA East Central. “At this point, all eyes are on crude oil, which accounts for 50 to 60 cents of each dollar you spend at the pump. But, we’re right around the corner from demand increasing and the sale of summer blend gasoline, which are both trends that typically push prices higher in the spring.”

AAA East Central is reminding motorists about ways to improve fuel efficiency. Adopting responsible driving practices can contribute to significant savings at the pump and ease the financial strain of higher gas prices.

“One of the simplest ways to keep your fuel costs lower is to slow down, as speeding drastically decreases how efficiently your vehicle burns fuel,” Garrity continued.

To improve vehicle gas mileage, AAA recommends the following tips.

The Daily Drive

– Slow down and drive the speed limit. On the highway, aerodynamic drag causes fuel economy to drop off significantly as speeds increase above 50 mph.

– Reduce trips and lighten your load. Limit the amount of cargo in your vehicle when possible. Combine errands, and possibly aim to get all of your errands done on one day of the week. Also, consider using the more fuel efficient vehicle in your household more often.

– Avoid “jackrabbit” starts and hard acceleration. These actions greatly increase fuel consumption. Accelerate smoothly with light to moderate throttle. This allows the automatic transmission to upshift into higher gears sooner, reducing engine rpm and saving fuel.

– Avoid extended idling to warm up the engine. Even in winter, idling, and warming up an engine are unnecessary and wastes fuel.

– Look ahead. When approaching a red light or stop sign, take your foot off the gas early and allow your car to coast down to a slower speed until it is time to brake.

– Use cruise control to help maintain a constant speed and save fuel. However, never use cruise control on wet roads because a loss of vehicle control could result.

– Take advantage of fuel savings programs. AAA members have access to savings when filling up at Shell gas stations. More information is available at []

Ownership, Maintenance, and Repairs

– Keep tires properly inflated. Underinflation reduces fuel economy, but more importantly, tires low on air affect handling and braking, wear more rapidly and can overheat and blowout.

– Maintain the vehicle according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Regular maintenance will ensure optimum fuel economy, performance and longevity.

– Make all necessary repairs. Take the vehicle to a []trusted repair facility as soon as possible if the “Check Engine” light comes on.

AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 72 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members. News releases are available at [] Follow us on []Twitter and []Facebook.

AAA offers tips to lessen the frustration of filling up the tank