For the first time ever, the national average of regular gasoline hit
And that's before any of us even start our cars to head over the river and through the woods to grandma's for Thanksgiving.
Anyone want to venture a guess on what the per-gallon pain will be in a couple of weeks ... or by Christmas?
One expert says it won't be so bad. Oil Price Information Service analyst Tom Kloza told USAToday that while pump prices have a little bit of catching up to do to reflect the recent surge in oil costs, prices are unlikely to go dramatically higher. The reason, according to Kloza, is that demand has softened as consumers have found ways to cut back on driving.
Yeah, right. I'll believe that this is the pump price pinnacle when I see it. Personally, I suspect it'll go up at least another 50 cents.
Heck, most California stations, according to Gas Buddy's tracking map, already are charging $3.25 or more. No wonder so many Golden Staters have migrated to Texas; almost every place in the Lone Star State is holding under three bucks.
Ways to save: Looking for ways to get better gas mileage? About.com has 10 fuel-saving tips here.
Edmunds.com goes a step further and tests the tips. The automotive site took several of the most common pieces of fuel-saving advice and examined if the promises of less gas usage were true. Some of them worked like a charm, say Edmunds' testers; some didn't work at all. Details here.
Even Uncle Sam gets in on the gas-conservation game. This interactive site from the Federal Trade Commission offers info ways to save, both via mechanical maintenance and driving methods. Did you know that junk in your trunk -- your car's trunk! -- can hurt your auto's fuel economy?
Hybrid tax breaks: And, of course, the federal government is still offering some tax breaks to drivers who decide the best way to save gas is to get a more fuel-efficient vehicle.
Just this week, the IRS announced that several 2008 Toyota and Lexus hybrids qualify for a tax break on 2007 returns. Of course, the key here is that taxpayers bought these eligible autos no later than Sept. 30.
If you picked up one of the Japanese automaker's vehicles a day later, it's of no tax use to you; on Oct. 1 all of Toyota's hybrid tax credits were eliminated under the counter-intuitive and convoluted rules of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
And the IRS keeps a running list of vehicles (hybrids as well as those that run on compressed natural gas) that still qualify for the alternative-fuel tax credit. Check it out here, although right now it looks to be a bit out-of-date so keep checking back.
Other automotive energy savings: HybridCenter.org keeps track of additional savings that already are offered or being proposed to encourage more green drivers.
In addition to the usual tax benefits at both the federal and state levels, they include parking perks, insurance discounts and incentives that allow solo drivers of hybrids to use HOV lanes. Check out the list here.
And just to be on the safe side, you might want to fill up your gas-only guzzler today, before the prices inch up any more.