DCP offers tips to save money at the gas pump

by PDM STAFF

| PDM File Photo

NEW YORK – Gas prices continue to hit record highs and are expected to soar as summer comes around when millions of consumers are hitting the roads. To help New Yorkers and the general public to save money every time they fill up, the New York State Division of Consumer Protection. (DCP) recommends valuable tips along with the New York State gas tax suspension and adds up actual savings at the pump.

“After being stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are looking forward to traveling this summer, but we are facing sky-high gas prices,” said Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez.

Gas prices in New York are nearly double what they were a year ago, and there are no signs they will be going down anytime soon. Drivers may be trying to carpool to save money, switch to mass transit or purchase a new automobile with better gas mileage. However, DCP realizes that many consumers lack carpooling options, are unable to utilize mass transit, or cannot afford to purchase a new car.

Thus, DCP is offering New Yorkers some suggestions on how to save money at the gas pump:

Cents at the Pump

  • WAIT until your gas gauge reads ¼ tank before filling up in warmer weather. Your vehicle gets better gas mileage with a lighter load, and keeping the tank full can waste money.
  • CHOOSE the lowest octane recommended for your car.
  • COMPARE the price advertised on the gas station’s sign and the pump to ensure they are the same. If not, ask which price is the one you would actually be paying.
  • DOUBLE CHECK that the price per gallon remains the same throughout the entire time you are pumping. Be aware that the cost per gallon changes, the number turns back, or advances quickly.
  • MAKE sure that the gas pump reads $0 before you begin fueling and stops running when you finish pumping so you know you are only paying for the gas being dispensed into your vehicle.
  • KNOW the size of your gas tank and how many gallons of gasoline it holds to ensure you get what you are paying for at the pump.
  • ASK your gas station if they have different prices for payment in cash or credit. Some stations offer gas at several cents less per gallon if you pay in cash.
  • USE a gas price tracking app to compare prices at local gas stations, and try to use a station on your route so you aren’t driving extra miles. Driving out of your way to saving money at the pump may not save you anything.
  • AVOID filling up right before a holiday or weekend when gas prices tend to be higher.
  • WATCH OUT for scams. Scam artists prey on desperate consumers during difficult economic times or when certain commodities become challenging to obtain or ultra-expensive. Approach alleged fuel-saving programs, devices, or chemicals with skepticism. Remember that it probably is if it sounds too good to be true.

On the Road

  • CUT BACK on needless driving around. Make lists of errands and try to have them all in similar locations.
  • MAINTAIN your vehicle in good condition. Get a tune-up from a certified mechanic. Your vehicle will get better gas mileage if you have the oil changed and tire pressure checked regularly.
  • CLEAN out your vehicle and only carry what is necessary. Extra weight in your car lowers your gas mileage. Consider removing roof racks and towing devices mounted outside the vehicle when not in use.
  • CHANGE your driving habits. Your vehicle will get better gas mileage if you do not accelerate fast or overuse your brakes, commonly referred to as “riding your brakes.” To save gas, stay at or under the speed limit and drive at a consistent rate of speed. Use cruise control when practicable, and do not idle your car in a parking lot or driveway.
  • CONSULT maps, internet directions, or a GPS to ensure you take the most efficient route and reduce the likelihood of getting lost and driving unnecessary miles.

The New York State Division of Consumer Protection provides voluntary mediation between a consumer and a business when a consumer has been unsuccessful at resolving on their own. The Consumer Assistance Helpline 1-800-697-1220 is available Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, excluding State Holidays, and consumer complaints can be filed at any time https://dos.ny.gov/consumer-protection

–With Jay Domingo/PDM.

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