As gas prices climb, drivers start looking for ways to save money, fuel

JOPLIN, Mo. – Gas prices continue to climb with AAA saying the average price for regular unleaded in Missouri is $3.98 a gallon.

Frank Fletcher Toyota in Joplin is one of many dealerships in our area offering electric or gas-electric hybrid cars. However, employees say demand is high and, in most cases, those vehicles are preordered and sold before they ever hit the lot. Despite that, Sales Professional Sage Honey says there are some benefits to switching to a hybrid vehicle. “Dependent on how much you drive you can save anywhere from $2,000 to $3,500 a year just in gas between a gas to hybrid car.”

Honey says the number electric and hybrid vehicles are expected to increase and as Toyota makes plans for new all electric models, they’re making changes at their dealerships, to combat issues like not having enough charging stations. “We’re going to start getting charging stations all around our dealership for them and then by 2030 we’re expecting to have up to 14 all electric models, so we’re going to start seeing a lot more electric and hybrid vehicles here.”

An electric or hybrid vehicle may not be an option for everyone or maybe something you’re just not interested in. If you’re driving an all-gas vehicle, Nick Chabarria with AAA’s St. Louis office says there are some things you can do to improve fuel efficiency. “It’s going to start with regular maintenance, making sure you’re getting your oil changed regularly, making sure that you’re getting your fluids changed out when they need to be, any repairs that need to be done make sure to get those in, because that’s going to help your engine run as efficiently as possible.”

Some other tips from AAA include making sure your tires are aired up to the right pressure, when driving in town adjust your speed to “time” the traffic lights, reducing the need for repeated braking and acceleration, and when approaching a red light or stop sign, coast down to a slower speed instead of maintaining speed until it’s time to stop. Despite rising prices, AAA says the roads may still be busy this summer. “Historically, when we’ve seen gas prices elevated what we’ve seen is instead of people necessarily cancelling their plans altogether, they’ll find other ways to save and try to make up for the higher cost of fuel.”

AAA says another key tip to saving fuel is to slow down and drive the speed limit, as higher speeds result in more drag on your car.