Per CNN, millions of Americans traveling this holiday weekend are being greeted by unprecedented prices at the gas pump.
The national average for regular gasoline rose to a fresh record of $4.62 a gallon on Monday, according to AAA. That’s up by a penny from Sunday and 44 cents more expensive than a month ago. More on this story on CNN.com
Saving money on gas is more than simply knowing where to fill up – it also helps to know when to fill up.
Overall, gas prices tend to be lowest at the start of the typical workweek, on Monday and Tuesday (unless it’s a holiday), said GasBuddy’s lead petroleum analyst Patrick De Haan in an interview with NewsNation.
De Hann emphasized that starting Wednesday, prices tend to rise until they reach their most expensive time during the week, usually Friday or Saturday.
Is it because the weekend is considered playtime for most ‘9 to 5’ work folks and they’re more likely to pay a few cents more per gallon because they’re in a better mood?
Is it because the weekend is the ideal time for most people to get chores done, including filling up?
“If I had to venture a guess, energy markets are closed over the weekend, but they’re open Monday through Friday,” De Haan told NewsNation . “By the time the weekend rolls around, (gas stations) may be passing around any increases that happened earlier in the week.”
“They’re also less likely to lower prices at the onset of the weekend because a lot of people fill up on the weekend, so there’s less of an incentive,” De Haan added.
Oil is the key ingredient in gas and its prices are always fluctuating. As a result, gas prices mimic price swings in oil. If gas stations notice the price of oil rising as the week goes on, they’ll subsequently raise their rates on gas in order to stay profitable and/or mitigate any losses.
HOWEVER, gas pricing isn’t an exact science so Monday isn’t always the cheapest day of the week (i.e. 100 percent of the time). It really depends on what’s happening in the oil markets on any given day.
According to D Haan, most gas stations change their prices a few times a week. And at volatile times, a station might change its prices several times daily, especially if the competing gas station down the street continues to raise its prices.
Have you driven by a gas station more than once a day and noticed a price change?
“One tip is to always shop around. Prices can vary significantly from block to block,” De Haan said. “You can save $100 or even $200 to $300 over the course of the year if you’re paying attention.”
Perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to a) fill up on a non-holiday Monday or on Tuesday mornings because gas, in the long run, is still more than likely to be cheapest on those days and b) use Gas Buddy to locate nearby gas stations that are a little slow to increase their rates following spikes in the price of oil.