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Survey: Bad habits = paying too much for gasoline

(AP photo)

Gasoline prices are now the highest they’ve been in three years and they’re expected to continue going up into the summer driving season.

With that in mind: A new survey finds that many motorists could save a sizeable chunk of change if they focused on price before they pulled into a gas station.

Drivers are prone to overpay by at least 20 cents per gallon “due to factors such as laziness and procrastination,” according to a report by GasBuddy, a website and app that helps drivers find the best gas prices.

That laziness can cost you hundreds of dollars a year, said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. In some of the nation’s biggest metro areas, such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Seattle, drivers can save $60 a month by shopping around, he told me.

“It’s very easy in some of these big cities, where there are lots of gas stations, to overpay. It’s also easy to save a bundle of money,” DeHaan said. “Though we sometimes pick the most convenient station, a lot of the time it’s priced higher than a station that may just require a simple left turn.”

GasBuddy found several common things drivers do that cost them money:

Bad Habits: Nearly 80 percent of the respondents said they regularly fill-up at one gas station and 38 percent say they use that station because it’s convenient, not because it has the best price.

Choosing an Easy Route: Respondents said location is the main reason they choose a station, not price. Sixteen percent said their decision was based on how easy it is to get in and out.

Running on Empty: Few people (19 percent) fill up when they see a station with a good price. Most (65 percent) wait until they have a quarter of a tank left or the gas light comes on.

There are lots of ways to pay less than the price posted on the pump. These include:

• Some gas stations advertise a sizable discount, typically 10 cents a gallon, when you pay with cash.

• Gasoline credit cards typically offers a discount, as high as 6 cents a gallon on every purchase, according to lowcards.com. Some of these cards offer significant sign-up bonuses.

• Points earned with supermarket loyalty programs provide discounts of as much as a dollar a gallon. Some of the major oil companies have their own loyalty programs.

More Info: Gas prices are going up — here are some simple ways to save at the pump

Listen to Herb’s interview with Patrick DeHaan on KOMO Radio


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