(WXIA) -- Summer getaways will have many Americans on the road this year, and there are plenty of ways to fill the tank without breaking the bank.
Although analysts are predicting the best summer gas prices since 2010, people tend to do more driving from May to August, meaning they end up with bigger than usual bills. Being a smart driver can help -- no aggressive stops and starts, sticking to the speed limit -- but being a smart consumer has a greater impact.
Apps such as GasBuddy and AAA TripTik help find the cheapest gas along planned routes. In a given city, there can be a price gap of as much as 50 cents a gallon between the highest and best prices, and some drivers can go only a block or two to find the difference. Fuelcaster.com also tells drivers if they're better off filling up today or tomorrow, based on where prices are heading.
Some gas stations offer better prices depending on method of payment. Drivers may save five or 10 cents a gallon simply by paying with cash. Walmart offers 10 to 15 cents off per gallon with store gift or credit cards, and Cumberland Farms has a SmartPay app that knocks off 10 cents a gallon.
According to GasBuddy's Patrick Dehaan, gas prices will hit their low point in mid to late June, so that may be the ideal time to take a long road trip. Prices tend to be more volatile in July and August, when hurricane season is in full force.
Extreme heat and long drives can be tough on cars. Cracked hoses, leaky radiators, under-inflated tires and dirty filters can significantly lower fuel efficiency or, even worse, lead to a total breakdown. Make sure to maintain vehicles before hitting the road.