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Help for the pain at the pump

Have you noticed the prices at the gas pump? I sure have! They have been rising recently and are well over $4 per gallon across Idaho. Nearby states, such as California and Nevada, are well over $5 a gallon, according to recent data from the Automobile Association of America.
This is happening at an important time in Idaho’s economic cycle. According to the Wells Fargo Economist Group, “the resurgence in gasoline prices, and the likelihood they will remain high for an extended period of time, will present challenges to the broader economic recovery, particularly as driving is set to increase on a seasonal basis with businesses increasingly bringing workers back to the office.” The good news is I have a couple of financial tips that will hopefully make that next fill-up a little easier.

Joy Ott

Take advantage of discounts
There are a couple opportunities to leverage discounts when you fill your tank. Start with your local grocery store. Some have loyalty programs connected to gas stations that can provide discounts when you fill up. Make sure to compare using the points for gas discounts instead of grocery discounts to ensure you are getting the most for your loyalty points.
Fill up at warehouse clubs
Traditionally, warehouse clubs have some of the lowest price gas stations in a market. If you belong to a warehouse club, visit its website to find fueling locations and in many cases view real time gas prices.
Search for low price stations
There are a number of gas price apps and websites where you can go to search for the lowest price in your area. Make sure the distance traveled to get the lower priced gas doesn’t outweigh the amount of money saved.
Check your car
A big drag on gas mileage is underinflated tires. Check your tire inflation and make sure your tires are in good running order. A tune up and oil change could also provide some gas mileage efficiencies for your vehicle.
Keep your tank half full
Keeping your tank half-full will enable you to not feel pressured to pay the highest prices when your tank is near empty. You will have time to look for better pricing and avoid the highest price gas stations when you already have plenty of gas in your tank.
With the economic recovery underway, and many people returning to the office, it’s a great time to find some extra ways to save some money on your daily drives.
— Joy Ott is the Wells Fargo Idaho regional banking director.

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