Summer is a time when we usually have more opportunity to do things as a family. Since the kids are free and the wife, who works for the area school systems, are off, I find that as a self-employed individual, I make more of an effort to become the “family man” during this time of year.
Typically, I push harder during our long Chicago winters to crank out the productivity when there isn’t as much to do outdoors. This helps me free up time during the warmer months. However, after all my hard work, it’s somewhat defeating to find that gas prices are soaring, making many of the things we like to do more expensive.
This year however, we might not be paying as much at the pump…at least we hope not.
This year’s summer gas projections
According to a recent CNBC.com article, “Driven in part by a surge in ethanol prices, the average price of gasoline, currently at $3.54 per gallon, is expected to reach its peak between $3.55 and $3.75 per gallon by early April, according to AAA spokesman Michael Green.
Green said gas prices have inched higher since early February. At their current rate of increase, the national average may stop rising at $3.65 per gallon-less than last year’s $3.79 record.”
The article goes on to note, “…drivers probably can expect gasoline to remain cheaper than last year for the rest of 2014, according to AAA, with prices reaching their lowest in late June at $3.30 to $3.40 per gallon and dropping again in autumn.”
For our annual vacation, we typically take a trip from our home here in the Chicagoland area down to Florida. With two children, and typically spending several weeks there, we tend to drive. While it’s a long trip, it saves us significantly on airfare and the cost of renting a vehicle once there. Still, fuel costs can add up.
With mileage ranging close to 2,600 miles for our entire trip (down, back, and driving while at our destination), and average fuel mileage ranging around 17 miles per gallon, we use about 153 gallons of gas. If AAA is correct, and prices do falling into the $3.30 to $3.40 range – almost 25 to 45 cents below their peak – we could save around $40 to $60 on our trip. While it’s not a huge savings, every little bit counts.
Finding the best bang for our fuel buck
To help us find the best areas to refuel on our trip, we check the GasBuddy.com website. This helps us map out our refueling points along our trip route based upon price. While we don’t always hit the absolute lowest priced gas station in a particular area along our way, we can at least pinpoint general areas or states where average fuel prices are lower and shoot for them. This helps us maximize our travel dollar, cutting transportation costs and leaving us with more money for summer fun.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.