Every penny counts when you're filling your gas tank.

Fuel prices have been drifting higher in the Garden State over the past month or so, and the increases could continue as the U.S. enters the heart of hurricane season and refineries in other parts of the country deal with extreme temperatures.

Heading into this past weekend, the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in New Jersey was up by about 20 cents compared to a month prior, according to New Jersey Gas Prices.

Barring major storms or other issues, fuel prices should come down in the fall as demand lessens. But in the meantime, we compiled some tips from experts on how to keep as much money as possible in your pocket when fueling up.

Shop around

gas pump
dkhoriaty ThinkStock

In the same city, there could be a 40-cent difference between gas stations for the price of a gallon of unleaded. So you don't have to stick with your routine stop — changing it up could save you a few cents per gallon, and over time, that adds up.

And you don't have to waste fuel searching for the best prices. There are websites and apps that offer real-time price updates.

Carl Gould, president of 7 Stage Advisors located in Butler, noted that the navigation app on your phone can show you prices on your route. So before hitting the road for vacation or a long commute, you can find which stations offer the most affordable fill-up.

"Advanced planning is always a good idea," Gould said.

New Jersey law prohibits gas stations from changing its prices more than once per 24 hours. According to the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, fuel prices at Sunoco service stations along the Parkway and Turnpike are adjusted up to three times per week based on a survey of other gas stations in New Jersey.

Cash, credit, or debit?

Cash discounts are widespread in New Jersey. At many stations that offer one price for cash and another for credit, cash users pay 10 cents less per gallon.

If you're using a debit card for gas, know that you don't have to worry about avoiding stations with a card surcharge. Those different prices apply to credit cards only.

"Credit card surcharges cannot be charged on a debit card purchase. It's the same as cash," Gould said.

If you're paying by credit card, Gould said, try to use one that offers perks on the back end, such as points or cash back.

Reduce fuel usage


We're not telling you to drive less — just to pay more attention to your driving habits and the maintenance of your vehicle, in order to maximize mileage per gallon.

In a March 2022 interview, AAA told us that drivers can ultimately save money at the pump by avoiding behaviors such as, high speeds, idling, and gunning the engine.

Also, extra weight creates drag and requires a vehicle to use more gas. Drag can also be reduced by keeping the windows and sunroof closed when you're driving at higher speeds.

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