Fill up your tank while gas prices plummet; and where to find the cheapest fuel

The Gist

Gas prices are dropping and the governor has declared the so-called “fuel tax holiday” finito in January. Here’s the skinny on how to find the cheapest gas and how to make it last.

What’s Happening

The pain at the pump is ending as we close out a year of high inflation and soaring gas prices.  According to motorist group AAA, Georgia’s average price for a gallon of regular gasoline was $2.86 on Tuesday. That’s 28 cents less than what it was a year ago. The average price nationally was $3.25 per gallon, about 40 cents lower than this time last year.

As gas prices plummet, Gov. Brian Kemp is ending the statewide suspension of the fuel tax, which has given Georgians a break of 29 cents per gallon of regular gas and 33 cents per gallon of diesel fuel since March.  The fuel tax suspension, which has been extended seven times this year, will last through the holidays, and end on January 10.  

Kemp said in a statement released last week that the fuel tax suspension “has saved Georgians well over a billion dollars at the pump.” He said the final extension is aimed at allowing Georgia families to use those savings on holiday purchases and seasonal celebrations.

Economists estimate that individual Georgians have been saving on average $12 to $15 per month on gas during the fuel tax holiday. Diesel motor fuel consumers such as commercial truck drivers have saved more, from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per month.

Why It Matters

AAA says “the seasonal pattern of less driving due to shorter days and crummy weather, combined with a lower oil cost, is driving gas prices lower.” A drop in worldwide demand for energy is also impacting gas prices in the U.S., as global markets brace for an anticipated economic recession next year. 

This could be a great opportunity for penny-pinching Georgians to continue saving on gas, and for those with wanderlust to fill up the tank and hit the road to visit grandma, enjoy a mountain getaway, or travel to a beckoning deer stand with buddies.

What’s Next 

Will  lower gas prices last?  It’s hard to predict, as a variety of global factors could impact the delicate supply chain of oil and gas, and thus the cost per barrel and per gallon.

To get the most mileage out of every tax-free gallon over the next month, we’ve collected a few tips.

First, find the gas stations offering the cheapest gas in your town or county each day at GasBuddy.  As of Tuesday, a Costco in Ringgold topped the list in Georgia at $2.33 per gallon of regular.  In metro Atlanta, an Exxon in Lilburn was at $2.44.  

Also keep in mind some gas-saving tips to eke out more energy savings, courtesy of AAA. Here are several:

  • Avoid overfilling your gas tank, which can cause spills and waste. Never fill the gas tank past the first “click” of the fuel nozzle.
  • After filling up, make sure the gas cap clicks three times. Improperly sealed gas caps allow fuel to vaporize.
  • Properly inflated tires are safer, last longer and can improve your gas mileage by more than 3% per tire.
  • Slow down! Although vehicles reach their optimal fuel economy at different speeds, gas mileage usually decreases rapidly over 60 mph.  
  • Both acceleration and deceleration waste fuel. Try to drive at a constant speed and avoid tailgating. 
  • Gas stations near major highways often charge more for gas because land is generally more valuable in these locations, increasing overhead costs. Those higher costs are passed on to consumers. Before a road trip, fill up at your local station.

In Case You  Missed It

Can we take the gas out of inflation in Georgia?

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Header photo: (Credit: Mark Hatfield)