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Driving This Weekend? Three Keys to Finding Cheap Gas

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- At least 35 million people are expected to hit the road this Memorial Day Weekend, choosing cheaper hotels and restaurants because of high gas prices. If gas prices will determine if you're going to get behind the wheel, here are some tips on how to find the cheapest way to fill up your car's tank.

Fill Up On Fridays: Using mapping firm Esri, ABC News looked at prices at more than 5,100 gas stations in four areas of the nation: Chicago, Boston, Orange County and Jacksonville. In April, when the average price of gas shot up 30 cents, ABC News found that filling up on Friday saved the most money. In three of the areas, gas prices increased most on Saturdays.

Go to Warehouse Clubs: Gas prices at warehouse clubs like Sam's, Costco, and BJ's are at least 3 percent lower than the average gas station. With gas prices hovering at nearly $4 a gallon, you could save nearly $2.25 every time you fill up at a warehouse club.

Choosing the Right Location: On the way to the beach, the countryside, or the big city, it might seem easiest to fill up along the highway, but that could cause you more pain at the pump. ABC News found that finding a gas station just one minute from a highway can save you 11 percent or about $7 to fuel your trip. Also, avoid filling up downtown.

With gas prices hovering near $4 a gallon, Americans are already feeling the effects of gas prices well before the summer driving season kicks off this Memorial Day weekend. Gas prices are the highest they've been since August 2008. The national average for retail gas prices is $1.07 per gallon more than last Memorial Day Weekend.

There are some signs of relief. The national average for unleaded regular gasoline was $3.81 on Thursday, 9 cents less than it was last week.

Pump prices this weekend are expected to drop even more because oil prices are down about 12 percent since the beginning of the month.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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