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Five ways to save on gas prices

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As Independence Day approaches, Americans will be celebrating freedom and patriotism, yet facing an average national gas price of $3.68 per gallon, according to USA Today. A rise in the cost to fill up may be blamed on a number of reasons, whether it's the approaching holiday weekend or the recent refinery attack in Iraq. While living without a car is an option for some, independence from high gas prices can be achieved through other means. Here are five practical ways you can minimize pain at the pump any day of the year.

Plan your schedule
Errands that require lots of driving can quickly whittle away at your gas tank. Planning these tasks based on your regular driving schedule– whether it’s trips to school or work– can help you make the most of your mileage.

Read the owner’s manual
If you always purchase premium fuel, be sure it’s required for your car. Consult with a mechanic or read the owner’s manual, and if the least expensive kind can be used, make the switch to save some cash.

Be observant
Are you conscious of how much gas prices can change in a day? If not, you could be saving as much as 10 to 15 cents per gallon depending on when you time your purchase. Comparison-shopping can also be eye-opening. If you’re in close proximity of more than one gas station, make sure to compare the prices before you buy. The price difference between two gas stations located within blocks of each other can be surprising.

Investigate fuel points
If you shop at a grocery store such as Remke or Kroger, you may have a loyalty card that you scan every time you shop. This loyalty card could also qualify you for gas discounts, so be sure to ask about a fuel rewards program at your grocery store.

Consider a trade-in
Are you driving a gas hog? Consider a trade-in to give you better gas mileage. Driving your car or truck long distances every day can add up to hundreds of dollars in monthly costs. Crunch the numbers to find out if a trade-in might be a smarter alternative.

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