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Common mistakes drivers make when buying gas

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – Gas prices typically rise the closer we get to summer.

According to AAA, the average price of regular unleaded gas for the Lafayette area is now $2.62 per gallon.

It was $2.49 a gallon a month ago and $2.12 a gallon one year ago.

With gas prices taking a bigger bite out of our budgets some drivers say it's important to shop around.

"Usually I check for the gas prices,” said Barracus Washington of Lafayette. “See who's got the best gas prices and try to maneuver from there.”

The smartphone app GasBuddy recently did a survey of over 2,600 drivers. It found that many people are overpaying for their gasoline.

GasBuddy began on the internet in 2000 and has had an app since 2010.

Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy's Head of Petroleum Analysis, said 80 percent of drivers go to the same gas station every time.

"Motorists can usually easily save anywhere from 15 to 35 cents a gallon by shopping around but when you get comfortable and go to the same station every day you tend to overpay,” DeHaan said.

The survey also found drivers who run on empty tend to spend more because they often panic and pull into the first station they come across.

According to GasBuddy – 73 percent of drivers buy their gas based on price.

50 percent by location.

25 percent on brand loyalty.

And 16 percent on the convenience of the entrance.

So how do Acadiana drivers buy their gas?

"I go for convenience a lot. I try to get something that's on my way to work or on my way home,” said Dane Charpentier of Lafayette.

"The cheapest,” said Nicole Pontiff of Church Point. “Every penny counts. Every penny you save you can use it towards something else. Today with the economy. You got to.”

DeHaan said drivers can also save by using a gas station loyalty card, paying with cash or using a debit or credit card that offers cash back.

"There's a lot of different ways to save,” DeHaan explained. “In addition there's some stations that do cash discounts, some of them cost more, there's a credit card surcharge so you have to be very wary of that."

Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Dr. Mike Strain said some gas stations charge higher prices because of the additives they put in their blend of gasoline.

"Sure it always helps to shop around,” Strain said. “Just be kind of cognizant but then again we normally find the station we like to go to because we think this is the best value and we are all creatures of habit."

GasBuddy said another mistake is filling up with premium gas when your car only needs regular gasoline.

Another GasBuddy study found the cheapest day to buy gas is Monday while Friday is the most expensive day.


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