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Pennies Saved & Pennies Earned

Written by Neal F. Litherland. Posted in Uncategorized

Published on August 15, 2011 with No Comments

Gas Prices This Sum

by Neal F. Litherland

Summer has been the travel season in America for a long, long time. Summer vacation means that families (especially families of teachers) now have free time to get in the family car and go places — from big-city museums to the beach to family friends halfway around the country.

But gas prices continue to climb with the mercury, only lately coming back down. The sheer cost of driving has put a crimp into a lot of weekend plans. Same for the longer road trips that would have made their way into “My Summer Vacation” essays. “Pennies Saved & Pennies Earned” has found a solution to help those serious about saving money on gasoline.

It is on the Internet. It is generally true you can find anything online if you look hard enough.

If you are looking to save money on gas, there are Websites specifically designed to keep you up to date on what gas prices are no matter where you are. Be careful: Sometimes it may hard to tell what is a genuine treasure and what is fool’s gold when you’re getting your information from the Internet. There are a few services that you can use which are free of charge to get the latest and cheapest gas prices in your area, many complete with maps to go with the addresses.

The first site you can use to track the cheap prices comes straight from the government. The site, www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/gasprices/states/index.shtml, while it is a precise mouthful for your browser, is a sub section of Fueleconomy.gov, a Website maintained by the government to help drivers and citizens with all things fuel and fuel economy-related, ranging from hybrid vehicles to gas-saving tips.

This site has a map of the U.S. Users click a state to find the current values. However, while it is a national coverage site, the government fuel checker doesn’t list all of the cities in the country; rather it concentrates  on big cities with links to search tools that cover smaller cities.

Another Website that provides a fuel-checking service is www.gasbuddy.com. It keeps updated reports of local gas prices. You can search for gas prices by county and it covers all states. Additionally, Gas Buddy has tips for drivers, a calculator for trip costs in gasoline and it tracks average costs across states. The handy thing for technophiles is Gas Buddy has an app so that you can keep the most-up-to-the-minute gas prices right on your hip.

While there are plenty of other services and sites out there, including sections on popular Websites like Map Quest Gas Prices, a third option is www.gaspricewatch.com. Gas Price Watch color codes its tips, green for less than 12 hours old, orange for between 12 and 24 hours old and red for older than 24 hours. This can really help you figure out what is a fresh lead on cheap gas and what is just word of mouth by the time you get there.

Gas Price Watch also has a handy, easy-to-use map feature  which allows users to see which gas stations have what prices.

Of course it is generally cheaper to carpool, mount up on a bike or just use your feet to get where it is you are going. But for those who are looking to pinch pennies on the work commute, or who are going out to Aunt Sally’s for the annual family barbecue, modern technology can help you save money with the click of a few buttons and nothing spent but a couple of minutes for the pages to load.

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About Neal F. Litherland

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All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Neal Litherland is a Valparaiso resident who has been a freelance writer for several years. A graduate of Indiana University, he holds a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice. He offers advice on money-saving tips using common-sense tactics. He welcomes suggestions and comments. Contact Neal: neal@thechroniclenwi.com.

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