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Independence Day Holiday Gas Prices to be Highest in Four Years,
but Cheaper than this past Memorial Day Weekend
AAA Forecasts Nearly 40 Million Americans will Travel by Car for the Holiday
TOPEKA, Kan. – July 2, 2018 – At $2.86, national gas prices are at their highest point for an Independence Day holiday in four years, but that is not deterring motorists from hitting the highways in record numbers. For the nearly 40 million motorists expected to travel this week, they will find prices at the pump 11-cents cheaper than this past Memorial Day holiday.
In Kansas, which boasts the 11th cheapest gas prices in the nation, today’s average per-gallon price is $2.65, which is 7 cents less than Memorial Day weekend but about 60 cents higher than one year ago.
“A record number of Kansans will be joining the millions of other Americans in taking Fourth of July week road trips to celebrate America and summer,” said Shawn Steward, AAA Kansas spokesman. “Overall, the Sunflower State is in good shape with gas prices, and several states in our region, including Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, are all in the Top 10 in lowest gas prices in the nation.”
This week’s gas price extremes in Kansas are:
            HIGH: Howard (Elk County) – $2.90
            LOW: Galena (Cherokee County) – $2.42
With gas prices up significantly from a year ago, AAA Kansas says, there are things drivers can do to increase gas mileage and save money at the pump during their trips:
  • Observe the speed limit. Not only is it safer, it can help you save money.
  • Lose the weight. The heavier your car, the more fuel it uses.
  • Accelerate gradually. Avoid jackrabbit starts.
  • Drive during cooler parts of the day. Cooler, denser air can boost power and mileage.
  • Maintain recommended tire pressure. Low pressure reduces fuel economy and can damage tires.
Drivers Beware: Terrible Tuesday
INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts drivers will experience the worst congestion over the holiday week on Tuesday, July 3 in the late afternoon – as commuters leave work early and mix with holiday travelers. Travel times could increase two-fold in the major metros across the U.S., with drivers in Los Angeles, New York and Washington D.C. experiencing the most significant delays. AAA recommends drivers avoid peak commuting hours altogether or consider alternative routes.
AAA to Rescue More Than 362,000 Motorists
AAA expects to rescue more than 362,000 motorists at the roadside – including more than 1,600 in Kansas – around the Independence Day holiday. Dead batteries, lockouts and flat tires will be the leading reasons AAA members will experience car trouble. AAA recommends motorists take their vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out.
AAA Kansas suggests checking the following vehicle systems to reduce the chances of a breakdown during your holiday weekend:
  1. Test your battery and, if necessary, replace it BEFORE it dies
Most batteries last 3-5 years, and each day of hot summer weather pushes a battery closer to its end. A battery on the brink of dying rarely warns a driver before it fails, but having a simple battery test will indicate whether the unit is good or needs replacement.
AAA members can request a AAA roadside service technician to come to them and test their battery free of charge. Should the battery need replacement, the technician can usually replace it on location. For more information on the AAA Mobile Battery Service, visit AAA.com/Battery.
  1. Make Sure Tires Are Properly Inflated
Driving on under-inflated tires can cause tires to overheat and increase the likelihood of a blowout. This problem becomes even more of a concern when road temperatures are extremely high.
Tires should be checked when the car has not been driven recently, and they should be inflated to the pressure recommended by the vehicle manufacturer – not the number molded into the tire sidewall.
Recommended tire pressures can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker normally located on the driver’s door jamb or the inside of the glove compartment door. Some vehicles use different pressures for the front and rear tires.
While checking the tire pressures – including the spare – drivers also should inspect the tire treads for adequate depth and any signs of uneven wear that might indicate a suspension or alignment problem.
  1. Check all fluids, hoses and belts
When fluid levels are low, the possibility of overheating increases. Drivers should check all vehicle fluids including engine/radiator coolant, motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid to ensure they are filled to the appropriate levels. If any fluids need to be topped off, be sure to use the type of fluid specified in the owner’s manual.
Also, inspect all engine hoses and belts for signs of wear or cracking, and replace any that are not in good condition.
Stock a Summer Emergency Kit
“Even with proper preventive maintenance, summer breakdowns can still occur,” AAA Kansas’ Steward said, “so AAA Kansas recommends every driver have a fully charged cellphone on hand so they can call for help when needed and also keep a well-stocked emergency kit in their vehicle to ensure everyone’s safety while they’re waiting for help to arrive.”
AAA Kansas says the emergency kit should include water and non-perishable food items for all passengers (including traveling pets), jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, road flares or an emergency beacon, basic hand tools, and a first aid kit.
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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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