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How to beat the high cost of gasoline

With gas prices at record levels, Gerri Willis looks at how you can spare your pocketbook.

By Gerri Willis, CNN

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Gasoline prices hit a record high for the third straight day Tuesday. The last time we saw prices climb this high was after Hurricane Katrina in September 2005.

Lawmakers have been trying recently to ease the nation's pocketbook pain by demanding higher vehicle efficiency standards. But in the meantime, here are some tips that can save you gas and cash!

1: Get the best car

High gas prices look like they are here to stay. In fact, American households are spending about $1,000 more a year on gasoline than they were just five years ago, according to a new study.

If you really want to insulate yourself from rising prices, take a look at some of the most fuel efficient cars the next time you go car shopping.

The Toyota Prius leads the list of the top 5 most fuel efficient cars on the market today, getting 60 miles per gallon in the city and 51 miles per gallon on the highway.

The Honda Civic Hybrid, Toyota Camry Hybrid and Toyota Yaris take second, third and fourth place, while the Honda Fit rounds out the top 5, getting 38 miles per gallon on the highway.

To get more rankings, check out Edmunds.com.

2: Improve your aerodynamics

If you're not in the market for a new car, you can improve your gas mileage by cutting the wind drag on your existing vehicle.

For starters, take off that roof rack and that rear spoiler and consider choosing narrower tires. And make sure you roll up your windows and turn on the air conditioner if you're going to be traveling more than 35 miles an hour.

3: Park smart

Park your car in the shade whenever possible. The sun is steaming up your steering wheel and essentially stealing fuel from your gas tank. It's called evaporative emissions and it's common in cars that are more than five years old.

Plus, keeping your car in the shade also helps to keep your car at the same temperature so you don't have to crank up the air conditioning when you're ready to leave. If you can park it in a garage, that's an even better option.

4. Don't give into the munchies

Most of the gas stations on the road are not just filling stations, they are convenience stores that sell branded gas. These retailers make most of their money on the coffee or bag of chips they sell. Bypassing those in-store goodies will help pad your wallet big time. Top of page

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.