It’s too early to say this is the new normal, but we are definitely going to see elevated gas prices through the summer — Daniel Armbruster, AAA New Mexico spokesman



New Mexico gas prices are skyrocketing, with prices flying past the $4-a-gallon mark.

Drivers Tuesday paid $4.29 a gallon for unleaded gas at this Speedway on Southern Blvd. Photo by Garrison Wells/The Observer

According to AAA New Mexico, the state Tuesday hit a record high average of $4.265 a gallon for unleaded gasoline. Nationwide, the average soared to $4.404 for a gallon of unleaded.

Rio Rancho hit a high of $4.265.

In Sandoval County, the average is $4.260, according to AAA. Bernalillo County was at $4.274. For the lowest prices for gas in Rio Rancho see the Observer website and Gas Buddy on the right side of the home page.

“The biggest factor is Russia’s war against Ukraine and the uncertainty it has generated in global financial markets and to investors who trade commodities like crude,” said Daniel Armbruster, AAA New Mexico spokesman.

The summer driving demand, he added, is likely to be higher this year after a couple years of COVID-19 suppression and pent-up demand to get out.

“That is what is expected,” he said. “Unless this is just a fluke, likely what is going to happen after this summer driving season, assuming that demand falls by Labor Day, we could get some relief in prices then.”

It’s not just the state and Rio Rancho seeing record highs.

Armbruster said Albuquerque, at $4.27 a gallon, hit a record. So did Farmington at $4.53, Las Cruces at $4.24 and Santa Fe at $4.21

Drivers can do things to save on their mileage.

Armbruster suggested motorists drive the speed limit, make sure their tires are adequately filled and keep maintenance on the vehicle up to date.

“AAA advises drivers that their behavior is the No. 1 factor when it comes to fuel consumption,” he said. “Drivers should take measures to be more fuel efficient.”

One concern that has arisen nationwide is whether $4-a-gallon gas prices are here to stay.

“It’s too early to say this is the new normal, but we are definitely going to see elevated gas prices through the summer,” Armbruster said.


Here are some tips from AAA.


Gas saving tips

► Slow down and drive the speed limit. On the highway, aerodynamic drag causes fuel economy to drop off significantly as speeds increase above 50 mph.

► Avoid “jackrabbit” starts and hard acceleration. These actions greatly increase fuel consumption.

► Avoid extended idling to warm up the engine, even in winter. It’s unnecessary and wastes fuel.

► Avoid prolonged idling in general. If your car will be stopped for more than 60 seconds, shut off the engine to save fuel. Many newer cars have automatic engine stop-start systems that do this.

► When driving in town, adjust your speed to “time” the traffic lights. This reduces repeated braking and acceleration that consume additional fuel.

► When approaching a red light or stop sign, take your foot off the gas early and allow your car to coast down to a slower speed until it is time to brake.

► Accelerate smoothly with light to moderate throttle. This allows the automatic transmission to up-shift into higher gears sooner, reducing engine rpm and saving fuel.

► Use cruise control to help maintain a constant speed and save fuel. However, never use cruise control on slippery roads because a loss of vehicle control could result.

► If your car has a manual transmission, up-shift as soon as you can without “lugging” the engine. When practical, you can also save fuel by skip-shifting – for example, going directly from first gear to third.

► Minimize your use of air conditioning. Even at highway speeds, open windows have less effect on fuel economy than the engine power required to operate the air conditioning compressor.

► Plan ahead to accomplish multiple errands in one trip, and whenever possible travel, outside high-traffic times of the day.

► If you own more than one car, use the most fuel-efficient model that meets the needs of any given journey.

► In hot weather, park in the shade or use a windshield sunscreen to lessen heat buildup inside the car. This reduces the need for air conditioning (and thus fuel) to cool down the car.

► Remove unnecessary and bulky items from your car. It takes more fuel to accelerate a heavier car, and the reduction in fuel economy is greater for small cars than for larger models.

► Minimize your use of roof racks and remove special carriers when not in use. On the highway, even an empty bike, canoe or ski rack can reduce fuel economy, and a loaded rack or car-top container will have a major effect on gas mileage.

► AAA research has found that unless premium fuel is recommended or required by your car’s manufacturer, it provides no added benefit. Motorists should refer to their vehicle’s owner’s manual to check which type of gasoline is recommended for their engine.