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Gas prices are at their highest since 2014: How to save on your next fill-up

And gas prices could stay high all summer, experts say.

HOUSTON — If you're hitting the road for Memorial Day weekend you're going to fill up your car with gas. With the average price for a gallon at its highest level in years, you'll want to make sure you stretch every drop and dollar as far as it will go. 

First, gas prices are one thing that sets everyone off. Even a dime hike sends people into a tizzy. In the first few months of 2021, gas prices climbed an estimated 50 cents in some states. The national average for a gallon of regular is now $3.04.

As of Friday morning, the Texas average is a little lower at $2.72 for regular, and Houston has some of the lowest gas prices in the entire country with Harris County coming in at $2.66 a gallon, according to AAA.

Don't stop at the first gas station you see

A good way to save a little when you fill up is avoid stopping at the gas stations located right along on the freeway. Sometimes you can save as much as a nickel per gallon if you drive about a mile from the exit into the neighborhoods.

Use gas-tracking apps

This seems obvious, but when was the last time you checked? Another good idea is to use a cheap gas tracker app like GasBuddy and plot your next fill-up by price instead of convenience.

RELATED: Average US price of gas jumps 8 cents per gallon to $3.10

Don't ignore those rewards offers

Third, join a rewards program. Some grocery stores and gas stations offer points — no, you don't have to sign up for a credit card. You will have to give them your phone number, sometimes.

Keep your car (including tires) in good shape

Also, keep your tires in good working inflation. Proper tire inflation can save you up to 3% on your gas bills.

Why are gas prices shooting upward?

The pipeline cyberattack is behind us, but OPEC has been slow to boost its post-COVID production, Yahoo! Finance reports. Much of last year, oil and gas demand was at an all-time low. Production is only gradually being increased at this time, yet the demand for fuel is skyrocketing as people get vaccinated and get back on the road and in the air. Most experts agree gas prices will stay high through the summer, as they always tend to do. There are other factors that impact gas prices, and many are quick to blame politics, but analysts say this is — simply put — a case of supply and demand as the world recovers from the COVID economy.

WCNC contributed to this report