Out and About – Week of February 19th

There are at least five things that are or will be getting cheaper in 2024. They include:

— Gas prices. The colder months and lower demand from drivers are largely why there’s been much relief at the pump. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, last December gas prices declined 1.9% year-over-year. Lately, gas prices drop a few cents at a time, then all of a sudden they jump up twenty cents. It’s predicted that gas prices will continue to decrease until summer when people hit the road again for vacations.
— Airline tickets. With gas prices projected to lower in 2024, consumers should see airline ticket prices continue to come down, because when fuel prices come down, airlines benefit and prices get cheaper.
— Home heating oil. Much like airline tickets, with oil prices declining, so too does the cost to warm your home. As of last December, oil was down 14.7% compared with December 2022. A lot, of course, depends on what OPEC does with the price of a barrel of oil.
— Cars. New car prices were up 1% last December, yet used car prices were down 1.3% compared to 2022. It’s difficult to find a new car you want at a dealer. With electric vehicles being introduced, it’s likely that gasoline fueled cars and trucks will eventually be offered at a lower cost.
— Food at the grocery store. It’s hard to realize, but food prices have been decelerating for several months. It’s difficult to realize this, because food prices are coming down off record highs, so consumers aren’t feeling the relief. The USDA expects grocery store prices to decline 0.6% this year.
On the subject of gas prices, the one thing that upsets me is when the price of a gallon of gasoline jumps ten or fifteen cents a gallon. I’ve noticed this normally happens on a Thursday. Gas prices in Three Rivers are usually higher than other parts of the county. I usually fill my gas tank up in Sturgis, or on Shaver Road in Portage. Here are four tips on how you might trim your gasoline costs:

Ease up on your driving speed. Driving 5 to 10 miles more slowly can improve your fuel economy by 7 to 14 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Watch your tire air pressure. A set of tires that’s inflated to only 75 percent of the proper amount of pressure causes a 2 to 3 percent drop in fuel economy, according to the DOE.
Keep your car clean. Research has shown that a mud-caked car traveling at 65 mph got 2 miles less per gallon than it did when it was clean.
Use a gas card. A branded gas credit card can save you 5 to 10 cents per gallon. I have a Shell Rewards card and a Shell card and I save 10 cents a gallon with it. The same goes for a Meijer card.

S H A L O M!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

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