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How higher temperatures can affect your gas tank and wallet

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Gas pump(Contributed)
Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 6:32 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - At home isn’t the only place you’re going to want to cut costs.

Nationally, gas prices are about $5 a gallon. In Georgia, we’re getting the good end of the stick, paying just under $4.50. Across the river, about 10 cents higher.

What’s mind-blowing is that just a month ago, prices in Georgia were about 50 cents less, South Carolina just under $4.20, and nationally, 53 cents less a gallon.

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Depending on when you fill up, you may not be getting the amount you pay for.

Combined with this heat, you may notice you’re taking more visits to the pump, especially if you’re fueling up in the middle of the day when it hits peak temperatures.

“In my truck that I use for work, it gets painful,” said Rob Buller, Augusta driver.

Augusta drivers are feeling the heat at a gas station off Washington Road even though it’s cheaper here than most of the country.

Haywina Dock, Augusta driver said: “It normally takes me only about $25, $30 to fill up, now I’m paying about $45, $50 to fill up my car. It’s ridiculous. I feel like it must be water in the diesel because my gas tank is not staying full at all.”

As it turns out, water in the tank is an issue.

Michael Kunkel, owner, Automotive Experts said: “Ethanol, is basically alcohol. As it gets hot, it evaporates and turns back into water. It does a lot of damage to the fuel system.”

Kunkel says the ethanol present inside of the fuel mixture during intense southern heat is what creates more frequent trips to the pump, and fuel additives are the best way around the double edge damage of ethanol.

“Cleans the injectors, cleans the fuel lines. Keeps the vehicle operating as it should. At most, every other time you fill up,” he said.

For those who can manage their time for a cooler fuel-up time:

“Either in the mornings or at night is the best time,” he said.

Even though the traffic may already be as bad, Kunkel also says that simply driving slower can put a lot less strain on your pedal and improve your car’s mileage.

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