With Memorial Day weekend fast approaching, the summer driving season is starting to heat up, and more cars on the road means gas prices are expected to go up.
Some analysts wonder whether the high gas prices we were seeing early in the year could mean record highs for 2013.
But the hunt for cheap gas doesn't have to be difficult. Like many things these days, there's an app for that.
GasBuddy.com started out as a website that let users report and view fuel prices in their area to help others find cheap gas locally. It now has an app for both iOS and Android devices.
Gregg Laskoski, an analyst for GasBuddy, said the app can help drivers save money.
"A lot of people don't realize how much of a gap exists just in their local markets," he said. "In Miami ... there was a gap in the lowest priced station and the highest priced station at $1.05 a gallon. In mini-markets, it can be 50, 60, 70 cents per gallon."
Abe Azar is a gas price evangelist and finding cheap gas is his passion. He uses the GasBuddy app to locate the cheapest gas prices near his home in Tampa, Fla., hunting to earn points for entering gas prices -- which he said he does daily.
For a man who puts 30,000 miles a year on his car, Azar said he saves at least $500 a year using GasBuddy.
In an interview with "Nightline," Azar and Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy, offered these money-saving tips to help you at the pump.
|Buy Gas Early in the Week|
DeHaan said that prices typically rise during the week, but more so in the second half of the week, from Wednesday to Saturday.
|Go by the Newest Price Reports|
When using the GasBuddy app, Azar said timing matters.
"I have something that was posted two hours ago so that may be pretty reliable," he said. "Something that's 23 hours ago that's probably not."
|Pick a Card, But Not Just Any Card|
Azar said which credit card you use to fill your tank matters because it can mean the difference between putting extra savings or extra drain on your balance.
"A lot of the stations will charge a surcharge unless [you] use their particular gas card," he said. "I use a nongasoline company card. So the one I'm using now is Chase Freedom, and I get a 5 percent rebate [on gas], but then I have to find the station that doesn't have the up-charge, otherwise I've lost the benefit of that savings."
In short: If you are paying with a credit card, you can sometimes be slapped with an extra fee at the pump.
|Location, Location, Location|
Gasoline stations near the highway can be a win if there is more than one major truck or travel stop, DeHaan said, or a loss if there is only one station and it is small in size.
|Keep an Eye on Those Truck Stops|
Azar said truck stops are a good indicator to see if the price of gas will go up because they sell copious amounts of gas very quickly.
"Just because they sell so much gas and they are getting in a new load they are going to be paying the most recent price," he said.
|Fill Up in an Area With Many Gas Stations|
Competition will keep prices lower, DeHaan said.
|Fill Up Near State Lines|
Filling up near state lines will save you money, DeHaan said. States are more competitive because of any difference in taxes. For example, the combined tax in Illinois is nearly $0.61 per gallon, where Missouri is $0.36 per gallon.
|But Don't Drive Out of Your Way for Cheaper Gas|
Driving those extra couple of miles off the beaten path to fill up at a cheaper station will still cut into any small savings you might have earned to get back on your original route.
"I have to admit I have driven -- if its 15 cents less out -- of the way, just so I can feel like I didn't pay that much for gas," Azar said. "It's not worth it."
Slow down, DeHaan said. If you go 65 mph on the highway instead of 70 or 75 you can save stretch your tank 10 percent, further or more.