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Gas prices are rising to record levels. Here's how to save at the pump right now

Here are 14 tips to save on gas after a surge to the highest prices in U.S. history amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
/ Source: TODAY

Gas prices were already on the rise before Russia's invasion of Ukraine sent them to a level never seen before in U.S. history.

The price per gallon across the country hit an average of $4.17 on Monday, according to GasBuddy, eclipsing the record of $4.10 a gallon from 2008.

Russia accounts for nearly 10% of the world's oil supply, and surging oil prices have caused worries on Wall Street. The S&P 500 went down 3% on Monday for its sharpest daily drop since October 2020.

Airfares have also increased as jet fuel costs continue to rise. The price of diesel fuel is expected to pass $5 a gallon, which means the price of consumer goods will continue to increase because of fuel costs for trucks.

With spring and summer vacations on the horizon, NBC News senior consumer investigative correspondent Vicky Nguyen shared tips from experts on TODAY Tuesday to avoid your wallet going on "E" from rising prices.

  1. Check for peak travel times in your area to avoid sitting in traffic.
  2. Crack windows while parked in the shade to minimize your A/C and gas use.
  3. Slow down and drive the speed limit, says AAA, as aerodynamic drag causes fuel economy to drop off significantly as speeds increase above 50 mph.
  4. Avoid "jackrabbit" starts and hard acceleration as they increase fuel consumption.
  5. Don't idle, and if you're stopped for more than 60 seconds, turn off the engine. Idling can cost you up to half a gallon of gas per hour.
  6. Clean out your car. Carrying around extra cargo adds weight to the vehicle and cuts down on fuel efficiency.
  7. Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Low tire pressure can reduce fuel efficiency and also cause the tires to wear out quicker.
  8. Take your car to a repair shop if the "check engine" light comes on because issues with the engine could cause you to burn around 25% more fuel than normal.
  9. The GasBuddy and Waze apps can be used to help people locate the cheapest gas station near them. Sometimes driving to the next gas station over can save you upwards of 30 cents per gallon.
  10. Keep an eye out for the best prices in your area, and don't wait until your tank is almost empty and be forced to fill up at the nearest station.
  11. Avoid getting gas at stations just off a highway exit or in the middle of a major city, which usually have higher prices.
  12. Use reward cards. GasBuddy also offers a free gas card that can save you up to 25 cents per gallon at most gas stations across the country, and retailers like Walmart+, Safeway, Kroger, Costco, BJ's and Sam's Club also have fuel rewards programs. Also take advantage when a gas station offers a discount for cash payments over credit cards.
  13. Buy gas on the right day of the week. GasBuddy has done studies that have shown Monday to have the cheapest prices, and the weekends to be more expensive.
  14. Use air conditioning. Today's air conditioners create less drag on the engine than driving with the windows down. Also, drive during cooler parts of the day because cooler, denser air can boost power and mileage.