With rising gas prices, here's how drivers in Pennsylvania can save some money

With gas prices soaring, commuters might be looking for alternative ways to get to their destination or to save money at the pump.

That might mean carpooling, taking the bus, or searching for cheaper gas prices.

With the ongoing invasion in Ukraine, drivers are going to feel the pain in their wallets. President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced a ban on all Russian energy imports, which is expected to cause a spike in gas prices.

Consumers in south central Pennsylvania already are paying the highest gas prices in history. The average gallon of gas costs $4.31 in the Keystone state.

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Here are some ways that consumers can save on gas:

A customer pumps gas at  Giant in Springettsbury Township on Tuesday with the lowest price gas at $4.45 a gallon.
A customer pumps gas at Giant in Springettsbury Township on Tuesday with the lowest price gas at $4.45 a gallon.

Commuter Services of Pennsylvania

This program, which serves nine counties, including all of south central Pennsylvania, helps drivers seek alternatives to commuting alone.

The options can include carpooling, vanpooling, riding a bus, biking and walking.

The organization expects to hear more from commuters in the coming weeks as they realize how much gas is impacting their household budget, said Matt Boyer, executive director for the Susquehanna Regional Transportation Partnership.

Drivers might be thinking: "At $5 a gallon, if I have to cut my expenses, where do I do it?"

For some employees, telework might still be an option — even if it is for a few days a week, Boyer said. Before the pandemic hit, some companies generally viewed working from home as taboo, but that has since changed.

Employees who still need to travel to work should visit their company's human resources department to see if it participates with programs like Commuter Services.

Even if it doesn't, the organization has an app that can help commuters find resources, such as catching a bus, finding a rideshare, and finding a park-and-ride lot. Drivers also can figure out how much money they could save by seeking other options.

The app is called Commute PA, and members can earn rewards to boot.

For more information, visit pacommuterservices.org or call 1-866-579-RIDE.

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Express buses and transit

Catching a bus is another way to save some cash.

In York County, for example, riders can purchase an unlimited bus pass for $42 a month for the fixed route service, said Richard Farr, executive director of the Susquehanna Regional Transportation Authority.

New riders can find out how to use public transportation by visiting rabbittransit.org. Some rides for senior citizens are free, if registered.

The Google Transit Trip Planner can help people map their ride and how much it will cost. The app, myStop, tracks the buses in real time.

Employees who work in Harrisburg or northern Maryland can take a rabbitEXPRESS bus. It's $95 a month to head to the state capital from York or Gettysburg, and $136 a month to head from York to Towson, Maryland, with the bus passes, Farr said.

Worried about possibly needing to leave work early because of an emergency? Six emergency rides home per year are included as long as the rider is registered through Commuter Services of Pennsylvania.

GasBuddy, Waze apps

Prices are going up at gas stations within hours.

GasBuddy can help drivers get the most bang for their buck. They simply enter the city, and a map pops up with the station prices.

GasBuddy offers a free card that allows drivers to save money on gas. People earn money toward fuel purchases by shopping at popular retailers, such as The Home Depot, Old Navy and others.

Waze, which offers live navigation, can help with carpooling, but it also can help drivers avoid sitting in traffic jams ... and wasting more gas.

Club memberships

Some places, such as BJ's Wholesale Club and Sam's Club, offer some of the cheapest gas prices around.

It might make sense for some drivers to join.

Some grocery stores, such as Giant and Weis Markets, allow customers to save on gas by earning points through groceries they buy.

At both chains, customers can earn 10 cents off a gallon for every 100 points they earn.

Crossing the border

Drivers who are heading into Maryland could save money by waiting until they cross the state line.

The average cost for a gallon of gas is $4.19 in Maryland. That's a savings of 12 cents.

Many of the cheaper stations are in the Baltimore area.

This article originally appeared on York Daily Record: Gas prices skyrocketing: How to save money in central Pennsylvania