(WWBT/WXIX) - When you stop to fuel up at the pump this week, don't be surprised if your wallet feels a little lighter.
AAA is reporting gas prices are about 63 cents higher than this time last year. The national average is about $2.86.
If you're making a trip across the country, AAA has a gas price calculator to help you plan how much you will need to spend on gas.
If you want to save money on gas, how you drive could be just as important as what you drive. Here are six tips that could save you money:
Experts agree fuel economy starts dropping when you travel faster than 60 miles per hour, and it really drops when you are traveling over 70 mph.
Just slowing down from 70 to 55 could mean gas savings of 15 percent.
Avoid jackrabbit starts
If you stomp on the gas when the light turns green you are wasting a ton of gas. Instead, ease up on those starts, and you could see savings of 25 percent.
Check your tires
Soft tires slow you down and cut gas mileage by 10 percent or more. Experts say you should check them at least once a month and re-inflate as necessary.
If you're driving around with a bunch of kid's sports gear or something else in the back of the car, take it out. Extra weight wastes gas.
Use cruise control
Running your car at a constant speed reduces gas usage and wear on your engine.
Change your oil and get maintenance done before the trip
Old oil, loose belts or cracked hoses can suck gas money from your pocket the longer you let them go, and they can turn into costly projects if you wait too long to get it fixed.
With excessive heat across most of the country, you might want to skip this step. On mild days, opening up the window will save you more gas than if you turn up the air conditioning.
If you're looking to buy a new (or used) car, you will probably see listed the Miles Per Gallon (MPG), but how much money will you actually save with a car that has improved fuel economy? The U.S. Department of Energy has a calculator that will let you compare the fuel costs and savings between two vehicles. Carmax also has a calculator you can use.
More than a million people are expected on the roads in Virginia this week. Thankfully, VDOT says they will suspend most work zones until noon on Thursday.
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