If you’ve noticed you’re paying more at the pump and your gas and electric bills are going up, you’re not alone.
According to AAA, the average gasoline price in Connecticut is $3.66 per gallon on February 21, 2022. That’s up 4 cents from last week, 17 cents from last month, and 99 cents since the last year.
AAA says it hasn’t been this expensive since 2014. Additionally, it says crude oil prices remain above $90 a barrel.
This, together with heating costs, is currently weighing on consumers.
“$4 a gallon. Hectic. Go $3.97 out of this world. Go on ! said Felton Rayfort of New Britain.
It was easy to find people like Rayfort frustrated with filling up at the pump.
“Gasoline prices are ridiculous,” said Matt Lallis of Hartford.
“So the gas pump doesn’t discriminate based on how much money you make,” said Leah Hartman, chair of the accounting and finance department at the University of New Haven.
She says that as the economy strengthens, there are many things at play that impact prices, like supply and demand, geopolitical factors and fears like what’s brewing between Russia and Ukraine.
“So if Europe can’t get oil from Russia, where will it go? They will increase with our trading partners. Our biggest trading partner is Canada when it comes to crude,” Hartman said.
And it’s not just gasoline for our cars, but also the cost of heating our homes.
“The energy bills are outrageous,” said Arcenia Andrews, of Hartford.
“Well, we hadn’t recovered from the economic repercussions of COVID-19, and then we had a very cold winter and rising energy prices, which kind of exacerbated everything that’s going on, in especially for those vulnerable households that are already struggling,” said Katrina Metzler, executive director of the National Energy and Utility Affordability Coalition.
As costs rise for these must-have items, it affects people’s bottom line.
“You buy gasoline just to get to work. You work for gas. It’s ridiculous,” Andrews said.
Metzler recommends Connecticutans take advantage of Operation Fuel, a program that’s not available in all states.
Eversource also suggests the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program or speaks to a company representative about one of their payment plans.
CNG, SCG and UI also encourage customers to take advantage of their support programs.
AAA sent us these fuel-saving tips:
- Have your vehicle checked. Perform regular car maintenance at the intervals recommended by the vehicle manufacturer in the owner’s manual or as directed by the in-car maintenance reminder system. Did you delay regular maintenance during the pandemic because you were driving less? Now is the time to watch it. Find an AAA Authorized Auto Repair Center here.
- Keep tires properly inflated. Under-inflated tires can reduce your gas mileage by about 3%. Not to mention that properly inflated tires are safer and last longer. Check the pressure of all four tires every two weeks using an accurate, portable pressure gauge.
- Know your octane rating. Don’t buy intermediate or premium gasoline unless your owner’s manual specifically recommends it. According to AAA research, Americans waste more than $2.1 billion annually on premium gasoline in vehicles designed to run on regular fuel. AAA found no advantage in using premium gasoline instead of regular fuel. At the time of the study, 70% of American drivers owned a vehicle that only required regular gasoline.
- Avoid idling. Idling gets zero miles per gallon. Leaving your vehicle idling for more than 10 seconds uses more gas than turning it off and restarting it. Don’t start your car until you’re ready to go. The engine actually warms up faster once the car is running and will stay warm after stopping. Avoid car windows – park and go inside instead.
- Obey the speed limit. Gas mileage drops rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Every 5 mph you drive over 60 mph equals paying an extra $0.15 per gallon for gas. Using cruise control on the highway helps you maintain a steady speed and, in most cases, saves you gas.
- Drive safely. Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. It can reduce your gas mileage by 33% at high speeds and 5% in the city.
- Group trips. Combining errands into one trip saves you time and money. Multiple short trips made from a cold start can consume twice as much fuel as a longer multi-purpose trip covering the same distance when the engine is warm. With a little planning, you can avoid backtracking on your route and also reduce the distance you travel. Not only will you save fuel, but you will also reduce wear and tear on your car.
- Minimize drag. Drag reduces fuel efficiency. Driving with the windows open, using roof- or rear-mounted racks, and carrying heavy loads increase vehicle drag. A roof rack or rack provides additional cargo space and can allow you to meet your needs in a smaller, more fuel-efficient car. However, a loaded roof rack can reduce your fuel economy by 5%. Reduce aerodynamic drag and improve your fuel economy by using a removable luggage rack and placing items inside the trunk whenever possible. Avoid carrying unnecessary items, especially heavy items. An extra 100 pounds in the trunk reduces the fuel economy of a typical car by 1-2%.