March 25, 2022

Tennessee is one of three states being hit hardest by elevated gas prices. Why and what can you do to save money on gas?

I usually drive my car in sports mode but have switched to comfort mode to save gas. I don’t know about you, but the expense to fill up my car with premium gasoline has skyrocketed. Yesterday at my neighborhood Shell Station I paid approximately $100 to fill up. It made me wonder what other people around the country were paying, and I came across a study published by SmartAsset. The article is titled “Where High Gas Prices Will Most Affect Residents – 2022 Study.”

SmartAsset analyzed how gas prices are affecting residents of each U.S. state using six metrics: estimated gas spending as a percentage of income, one-month change in average gas prices, one-year change in average gas prices, percentage of households with at least one car, percentage of households with two or more cars and average annual vehicle miles traveled per capita.

"Of the 10 states where individuals are most affected by high gas prices, seven are located in the Sun Belt, which stretches across the southern portion of the country," SmartAsset stated. "The three states where drivers will feel the most pain at the pump are in all the Southeast: Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee."

Tennessee

Drivers in Tennessee currently spend 4.01% of their income at the pump, the 10th-most across our study. On average, individuals in the Volunteer State travel more vehicle miles than 40 other states plus the District of Columbia. Tennessee, which also has the 13th-highest percentage of households with at least one car (63.44%), saw average gas prices rise $0.77 per gallon between Feb. 18 and Mar. 18. That’s the 15th-largest one-month increase in our study.

Tips for Saving Money on Gas

  • Schedule your trips to the gas station. Automotive expert Lauren Fix, also known as “The Car Coach,” says gas prices fluctuate depending on the day of the week, so time your trips accordingly. “Wednesday is typically the best day to fill up for less - prices tend to rise on Thursdays in anticipation of weekend travel," Fix said, pointing to a St. Louis Federal Reserve study that found refueling on a Tuesday or Wednesday can save you [between] $0.08 [and] $0.09 per gallon when compared with filling up on the weekend. “It also pays to fill up early in the day," she added. "Station owners tend to hike prices after 9 a.m. or so, once they've had time to check the competition.”

  • Take better care of your vehicle. Making sure your vehicle is in good shape can have a positive impact on your gas consumption. “A poorly maintained vehicle can consume more fuel than a well-maintained one,” said Francis Locknear of TheCostGuys, a data and analytics company focused on the cost of consumer goods and services. “Get your car checked by a trusted mechanic on a regular basis. Your brake system, engine, ignition system, electrical system, and fuel system can greatly affect how much gas is consumed by your unit.”

  • Lighten your car’s load. If your vehicle doubles as your personal storage unit, it may be time to get rid of all non-essential items inside. Fix said get rid of any excess weight from their vehicles, leaving only their spare tire and emergency kit. “Each extra pound takes more energy or gas to propel your vehicle,” she said.
  • Pay with cash. Andrea Woroch, a consumer finance expert, recommends using cash to buy your gas. “The advertised price per gallon at gas stations is for cash payments and that cost goes up between 10 to 15-cents per gallon for card paying customers to cover transaction fees,” she said.

  • This app can help you find cheaper gas. Many experts recommend downloading the GasBuddy app, a program that tracks gas prices in your area. GasBuddy, which has been downloaded nearly 100 million times, has real-time price information for 150,000 gas stations nationwide.

  • Have a pro examine your finances. The recent spike in gas prices may be a reason to reevaluate your spending habits. A financial advisor can help you assess your budget and find ways to scale back your spending.

Source: SmartAsset 2022 Study

Gary W. Lendermon

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