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Rosen reports: Gas price hikes, explained

Gas prices are down nationwide, giving us some relief. But from state to state and gas station to station, price changes vary a lot. Watch the video above: Our team of Hearst reporters show us what gas prices are in their states. From WYFF’s Kylee Jones in South Carolina to KETV’s Waverley Monroe in Nebraska to KSBW’s Christian Balderas in California, but in some states, people are seeing prices as high as $7. Why do prices vary from state to state? We asked Nicole Peterson from GasBuddy, who said there are two key factors: taxes and proximity to refineries and pipelines. Remember, oil is not the final product you put in your car. Before that one has to go through the whole journey. “We start drilling for crude oil, which is done domestically and overseas,” Peterson said. Then, the oil must be transported to a refinery where it is processed into usable products that are sold to retailers. “Once that gasoline reaches its final form at the refinery, it must be transported back to some form of storage and then distributed back to local gas stations in the US,” Peterson said. Refineries are mostly located on the Gulf Coast. “That’s why we typically see the West Coast have the highest gas prices in the country. The East Coast has a network of pipelines. That gasoline can be shipped from refineries in the South, but the West Coast is more or less cut off, which is why we see the highest prices,” Peterson said. Saving money on gas no matter what the prices are. Here’s how:GasBuddy: Sign up online to get a free GasBuddy card. It links directly to your bank account. You can save up to 25 cents per gallon by using a GasBuddy card rather than a credit or debit card. All you have to do is check what deals are available in your area and activate them. GasBuddy also has an app that tells you what prices are at nearby gas stations, so you know you’re getting the lowest prices in the area. Upside: You get cashback every time you fill up. The app has partnered with gas stations across the country to offer K. You can get up to 25 cents per gallon, but the earlier you download the app, the higher the offers. Plus, the app often offers promotions and codes that can increase savings. Once you download the app, it will show you gas stations that offer cash back as a list or on a map. We’ve seen options with discounts ranging from 30 to 49 cents per gallon in the surrounding stati ons. When you see an offer you like, hit the “Claim” button. You have four hours to cash in on the offer. When you go to a gas station, you can “check in” with a button in the app or upload a receipt. Receipts are checked against station transaction data to confirm purchases. Then you will get the money back in few days. You can get it as a gift card through PayPal or directly into your bank account. Rewards/Loyalty Programs: Reduce prices by joining free gas station rewards programs. Sunoco Go Rewards offers a discount of 3 cents per gallon. For BP, you can save 5 cents per gallon. If you have a favorite gas station, find it and find out what kind of loyalty program it offers. Click here to know more. Google Maps: This app just added an option that shows you which route is the most fuel-efficient option wherever you go. Look for a small green icon on a path. The app states that fuel-efficient routes typically have fewer hills, less traffic and constant speeds.

Gas prices are down nationwide, giving us some relief. But from state to state and gas station to station, price changes vary a lot.

Watch the video above: Our team of Hearst reporters are showing us what gas prices are in their states. From Kylie Jones of WYFF in South Carolina to Waverley Monroe of KETV in Nebraska to Christian Balderas of KSBW in California.

We’re seeing the state average swing from $3 to $5. But in some states, people are seeing prices as high as $7.

Why do prices vary from state to state? We asked Nicole Peterson from GasBuddy, who said there are two key factors: taxes and proximity to refineries and pipelines.

Remember, oil is not the final product you put in your car. Before that the whole journey has to go.

“We start drilling for crude oil, both domestically and overseas,” Peterson said.

Then, the oil must be transported to a refinery where it is processed into usable products that are sold to retailers.

“Once that gasoline reaches its final form at the refinery, it must be transported back to some form of storage and then distributed back to local gas stations across the U.S.,” Peterson said.

Refineries are mostly located on the Gulf Coast.

“That’s why we typically see the West Coast have the highest gas prices in the country. The East Coast has a network of pipelines that can transport gasoline from refineries in the South while the West Coast is more or less cut off, which is why we see the highest prices,” Peterson said.

Here’s how to save money on gas regardless of prices:

Gas Allowance: Sign up online to get a free GasBuddy card. It links directly to your bank account. You can save up to 25 cents per gallon by using a GasBuddy card rather than a credit or debit card. All you need to do is check what deals are available in your area and activate them. GasBuddy also has an app that tells you what prices are at gas stations around you, so you know you’re getting the lowest prices in the area.

Inverted: The app partners with gas stations across the country to give you cash back every time you fill up. You can get up to 25 cents per gallon, but when you first download the app, the offers are much higher. Plus, the app often offers promotions and codes that can increase savings.

Once you download the app, it will show you gas stations that offer cash back either in a list or on a map. We’ve seen options ranging from 30 to 49 cents per gallon off at nearby stations. When you see an offer you like, hit the “Claim” button. You have four hours to cash in on the offer. When you go to a gas station, you can “check in” with a button in the app or upload a receipt. Receipts are checked against station transaction data to confirm purchases. Then you will get the money back in few days. You can get it as a gift card, via PayPal, or directly into your bank account.

Rewards/Loyalty Programs: Cut prices by joining free gas station rewards programs. Sunoco Go Rewards offers a discount of 3 cents per gallon. For BP, you can save 5 cents per gallon. If you have a favorite gas station, find it and find out what kind of loyalty program it offers. Click here to know more.

Google Maps: The app has added an option to show you which route is the most fuel-efficient option to your destination. Look for a small green icon on a path. The app states that fuel-efficient routes typically have fewer hills, less traffic and constant speeds.

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