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Gas prices are at their highest since 2014. How to save on your next fill-up

Gas prices are at their highest since 2014. Here are a few ways to save the next time you fill up your tank.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — If you're hitting the road for Memorial Day weekend you're going to fill up your car with gas. With the average price for a gallon at its highest level in years, you'll want to make sure you stretch every drop and dollar as far as it will go. 

First, gas prices are one thing that sets everyone off. Even a dime hike sends people into a tizzy. In the first few months of 2021, gas prices climbed an estimated 50 cents in some states. The national average for a gallon of regular is now $3.04. In North Carolina, it's a little cheaper at $2.90. 

A good way to save a little when you fill up is avoid stopping right on the freeway. Sometimes you can save as much as a nickel per gallon if you drive about a mile from the exit. 

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Another good idea is to use a cheap gas tracker app like GasBuddy and plot your next fill-up by price instead of convenience.

RELATED: Average US price of gas jumps 8 cents per gallon to $3.10

Third, join a rewards program. Some grocery stores, like Harris Teeter, offer points. If you save them, you can use them before big trips to knock down that part of your vacation budget. 

Also, keep your tires in good working inflation. Proper tire inflation can save you up to 3% on your gas bills.

WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to the Defenders team by emailing money@wcnc.com.

And while we're all wound up about gas prices, here's a quick reality check. A dime hike on gas over 12 gallons is just $1.20 more when you fill your tank. 

How many people complain about this, then go buy a Starbucks coffee for more than $4? Just something to think about. 

Contact Bill McGinty at bmcginty@wcnc.com and follow him on Facebook. 

RELATED: Charlotte woman says she paid more than $9/gallon to fill up her car