Gas Prices Reach an 8-Year High. Here's How to Cope

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  • Gas prices are hovering around $3.51 a gallon on average.
  • That's a $0.91 increase from the same time last year.

Here's how to manage if you're constantly paying more at the pump.

It's no secret that inflation has made the general cost of living hard to keep up with lately. And some consumers are making the difficult choice to cut back on non-essential spending to stay afloat and avoid debt.

But one expense you may not be able to cut back on is gas. If you commute to work or live someplace where you need a car to get around town, then filling up your vehicle is unavoidable.

Unfortunately, gas prices have soared to reach a nearly eight-year high. And that alone is putting a strain on a lot of people's wallets.

Gas prices are way up

On a national level, gas prices are sitting at around $3.51 a gallon on average. That's an almost $0.20 increase from last month and a $0.91 increase from the same time last year. As we head toward summer, the fear is that gas prices will continue to rise, as that tends to be the seasonal pattern.

How to swing higher gas prices

Higher gas prices may be hurting your finances. If that's the case, you have a few options to look at.

First, make sure you're being rewarded as generously as possible by your credit cards for those fill-ups. Many credit cards offer extra cash back on gas purchases, so if your current card only offers 1% back, you may want to look at applying for a card that offers 3% back or more.

Additionally, you may want to rethink your driving habits until gas prices start to come down. If you normally come home after work, exercise, change, and then head out on errands, you may want to flip your schedule around if the stores you frequent are on the way home from your office. Driving even a few miles less per week could go a long way if money is tight.

Along these lines, if you commute to work daily, it pays to see if it's possible to carpool with colleagues who live nearby. If you work similar hours, taking turns driving could result in big savings -- for all of you. Plus, it's nice to be able to stare out the window a few mornings a week rather than have to pay attention to traffic.

Finally, consider getting yourself a side hustle to give your income a modest boost. Doing so won't only make rising gas prices more manageable -- it could also help you deal with rampant inflation across the board.

If you're not sure what side hustle will work for you, think about your schedule and skills. If you're good with words, for example, and need something flexible, a writing gig could be ideal.

Unfortunately, gas prices could climb even more before dropping back down. If they've been a burden to you recently, see if getting a new credit card, changing your driving patterns, and picking up extra work on the side helps make things more manageable for you.

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