Aug. 15, 2005

Gas prices are going through the roof. The average price of a gallon of regular is now $2.50 a gallon, up 20 cents in the last month and 70 cents since the beginning of the year, according to the nationwide Lundberg survey of about 7,000 gas stations. The most expensive gas station in the country, in Needles, Calif., is charging $3.29 a gallon.

But there are things you can do to save money at the pump -- even if you can't trek all the way to Evanston, Wyo., which has the nation's cheapest gas at $2.12 a gallon. Brad Proctor, founder of gaspricewatch.com, appeared on "Good Morning America" with tips on how to make the trip to the gas station less painful for your wallet.

Buy at the right time. The day and time when you buy gas does matter. Through Labor Day, don't buy gas on Mondays and Thursdays. After Labor Day, don't buy gas Wednesday evenings or Thursday mornings. It's generally best to buy gas before 10 a.m., because that's when prices change.

Leave the air conditioning on. A lot of people think that turning the air conditioning off will improve gas mileage, but they are wrong. If you open the windows, which you probably will, that increases drag, and overall, you'll get worse gas mileage. So you're better off keeping windows closed and the air conditioning on.

Check all available gas stations. Sometimes when you come to an intersection, you'll see three or four gas stations. Don't assume that just because they're right next to each other they will have the same prices. They could vary by as much as 10 cents a gallon.

And, if it makes you feel any better, when adjusted for inflation, the price of gas hasn't reached a record yet. The all-time high, $3.03 a gallon in today's dollars, was set in March 1981-- 63 cents higher than today's average.