Got gas? | Urban Living
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Got gas?

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I just spent a whirlwind week traveling coast to coast for family matters. Can I just say, it's great coming back to our own home, our own bed and our pretty-cheap-gas state. Do you remember back in 2008, when regular unleaded gas was hovering around $4 per gallon? Oh, I do. I rented an RV and almost had to take out a second mortgage to fill it up each time I stopped at a gas station. It was, like, $700 per fill-up and the pump would only let you put a few hundred on your credit card each time I pumped. Prices are a lot lower these days. Our capital city has some of the lowest fuel prices in the country at $2.94 per gallon, according to GasBuddy. The app reported in late May that Provo was at $3.13, Ogden was $3.16 and the state average was $3.19 per gallon of regular.

Why are prices low? First, remember they always peak around holidays. We just celebrated Memorial Day and demand for gas was high. AAA predicted that 43 million people were going to take to the roads to celebrate. We still have the Fourth of July, Pioneer Day and Labor Day as three big travel weekends which will pump up prices. We also have a high inventory of crude. Refinieries in the Gulf Coast, according to CNBC, are going to produce about a million barrels a day in the coming weeks. In California, however, the outlet reports its refineries are running about 300,000 barrels a day below last year's average, setting the stage for higher prices out west. In the Midwest, massive floods and tornadoes have destroyed lives, property, businesses and a huge part of our economy. Ethanol comes from here and it won't be getting to the West Coast as easily as when the roads were clear earlier this year.

I have a hybrid car. I made the change in an attempt to make at least a tiny impact on my carbon footprint. I cruised the web for suggestions to save gas and the majority of info boiled down to driving habits: drive less (duh), buy gas early or late in the day (the hotter the day, the less dense the gas), avoid gas stations near highway on- and off-ramps, don't accelerate quickly, don't idle (yes, Salt Lake has a no-idling ordinance), keep tires properly inflated, filters changed and engine tuned up, try not to use your air conditioning as much and plan to get a less gas-guzzling car in the future. Plus, apps like the aforementioned GasBuddy, Fuel Finder, Gas Cubby and SmartFuel help you find the best fuel prices near you. And I really like that Smith's (Kroger stores) gives me money off the pump when I buy groceries and gas at their stores. I find that I'm often paying 20-40 cents less per gallon when I fill up there.