Money-saving tips as nationwide gas prices reach 7-year high

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Nationwide, gas prices are up by more than a dollar per gallon compared with a year ago, rising to the highest level in seven years.

So how can you save money on gas?

Mike Quincy, of Consumer Reports, said there are many simple things drivers can do to improve their miles per gallon and spend less at the pump.

"One of the number one things is to check your tires’ air pressure," Quincy said. "If the tires underinflated as if lower pressure and has a higher rolling resistance, the tire has to work much harder to get down the road."

Another tip is to drive steady and avoid abrupt starts and stops if possible.

"And when you’re on the highway, if your car can maintain a steady, consistent speed, that will improve your fuel economy," Quincy said.

Getting rid of unnecessary items inside a vehicle that makes it heavier is another way to get better mileage. Drivers can check what they’re carrying on the outside, too.

"One of the best ways to improve your car’s fuel economy is to take off any unused roof racks," Quincy said. "And also there are bike racks that are attached to the rear trailer hitch. All of those racks create lots of aerodynamic drag, and 50% of your car’s engine power goes to overcoming aerodynamics."

When drivers do fill up, Quincy advises them to think about the kind of gas they’re buying.

"Sometimes people might think that using premium gas is going to improve their car’s overall performance, but unless your car requires it, we wouldn’t bother."

Where gas is purchased can also make a difference. Gas stations farther off major highways usually have lower prices, and there are plenty of apps and websites that can also help drivers find cheaper gas.