Most of us will spend about $2000 filling up the tank this year, and it's likely we'll overpay by a few hundred dollars.  But there are three things we can do to make sure we're not getting the shaft.

GasBuddy crunched some numbers and figured out that 37% of Americans are overpaying for gas, and in cities like Phoenix, Columbus, Ohio and Los Angeles, drivers are paying too much by 50%.  It's not that bad here, but we still have a handful of things we should be doing to avoid paying too much at the pump.

3 Easy Ways to Save Money on Gas

1.  Price check.  Most of us don't check around before we fill up.  We'll either go to the same neighboorhood spot to fill up because it's close to the house and it's a habit, or we'll head to the first gas station we see when we realize we're running on fumes.  If we'd take a minute to look around, we might find a cheaper price.  An average gas price is an average because there are higher and lower prices nearby, and searching for the low ones can add up to decent savings.

2.  Fill up on Mondays or ThursdaysGasBuddy says prices tend to be in flux on Tuesdays because it's the day before the weekly oil and energy reports come out, and that makes Tuesday an undesirable day to fill up.  Unless you're on empty, of course, and then waiting until the next day isn't the best idea.  Gas prices might rise on Fridays and Saturdays as more people hit the road for the weekend, so Thursday is the best late-week day to fill up.

3.  Use fuel loyalty programs.  If you're part of a gas loyalty program through a grocery store or convenience store, you're doing yourself a solid.  Those discounts are legit!  I've saved as much as seventy cents per gallon using those rewards, and I have friends who have saved more.  Those are some of the deepest discounts you'll find, and they're ongoing.

We're lucky right now because gas is pretty cheap.  I had to do a double-take the other day when I passed by my neighborhood gas station because the first number was a one!  A buck and some change for gas?  It's been a while.  But now, prices at several places around East Texas are under $2 per gallon, and at last check, the average was $2.05.  And predictions are that gas prices will stay low for at least the next few weeks, possibly through Spring Break and beyond.

With low gas prices and opportunities to save through loyalty programs and price checks, even those of us that drive big SUVs can't complain.  We might as well make the most of it.

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