Staff Report

ORANGE, TEXAS- Motorist in Orange County lined up for $3.16 a gallon of regular gasoline Monday. The price at Murphy USA on Texas-87 is 6-cents below the state average today.

Gas prices in Texas were stable Monday with an average price of $3.22 for a gallon of regular gasoline after sharp increases last week. The national average was $3.35 on Monday, according to a consumer fuel price monitoring service Gas Buddy.

One month ago the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline was $2.90 in Texas. One year ago it was $2.55 per gallon. Two years ago the price of a gallon of regular gas was just $1.76.

Analyst expect fuel prices to continue to rise in the state. The last spike of this magnitude occurred in late summer and early fall of 2008.

Gas station price marquees around Orange County- and the nation- tell the story of conflict in the Middle East. Literally overnight, prices jumped to well over $3 a gallon at many retail fuel outlets last week.

Political unrest in Libya, where protesters are attempting to oust that country’s defiant dictator, Moammar Gadhafi, is being blamed for the newest spike in oil prices. In recent weeks, upheaval in the Middle East and North Africa stoked

fears that oil supplies would be disrupted, and oil prices exceeded $100

per barrel for only the second time in history.

The Gas Buddy offers the following suggestions for consumers to help keep fuel cost down:

1. Avoid High Speeds
As your speed increases, your aerodynamic drag increases in an exponential fashion. Driving 62 mph vs 75 mph will reduce fuel consumption by about 15%.

2. Do Not Accelerate or Brake Hard
By anticipating the traffic and applying slow steady acceleration and braking, fuel economy may increase by as much as 20%.

3. Keep Tires Properly Inflated
Keep tire air pressure at the level recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. A single tire under inflated by 2 PSI, increases fuel consumption by 1%.

4. Use A/C Sparingly
When the air conditioner is on it puts extra load on the engine forcing more fuel to be used (by about 20%). The defrost position on most vehicles also uses the air conditioner.

5. Keep Windows Closed
Windows open, especially at highway speeds, increase drag and result in decreased fuel economy of up to 10%.

6. Service Vehicle Regularly
Proper maintenance avoids poor fuel economy related to dirty air filters, old spark plugs or low fluid levels.

7. Use Cruise Control
Maintaining a constant speed over long distances often saves gas.

8. Avoid Heavy Loads
Remove the sand bags from your trunk in the spring and pack lightly for long trips.

9. Avoid Long Idles
If you anticipate being stopped for more than 1 minute, shut off the car. Restarting the car uses less fuel than letting it idle for this time.

10. Purchase a Fuel Efficient Vehicle
When buying a new vehicle examine the vehicle’s rated fuel efficiency. Usually choosing a small vehicle with a manual transmission will provide you with great fuel economy.