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Stretching Your Dollar: Mistakes to avoid at the gas station

With the gas tax coming into effect next week, there are some ways you can save money when filling up the tank.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Besides the extra 10.5 cents per gallon in gas taxes Ohioans will start paying next week, tensions with Iran and the fire that destroyed a Philadelphia oil refinery could also have an impact on how much drivers will pay to fill up the tank.  

When you are on the hunt for the best gas prices, avoid some mistakes that can rack up the cost. Here are several ways you can save money: 

First, never use a debit card if you can avoid it. Every time you use a debit card and enter a pin number, you open yourself up to becoming a victim of identity theft.

Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez said that entering your pin number can be like giving thieves open access to your banking information. 

"Whether it's here, whether it's at a restaurant, whether it's at a supermarket, you know, you really want to avoid putting in your pin number as much as possible for the safest transactions," she said. 

Criminals will try to attach illegal card readers that steal your information.

Credit card transactions are covered by a federal law that limits your responsibility for unauthorized charges up to $50. Additionally, you get the points or cash back—which is a win-win situation. 

Second, you're probably not doing your car any favors by putting in premium gas.

If your car demands high-octane gasoline, you should ante up for the extra 20 cents or so but only if it's recommended. 

The AAA also advises to hold off and save your hard-earned cash. According to a report they published called 'Don't Be Fueled,' Americans waste about $2.1 billion per year on premium gas they don't need.

 "It can actually in some cases cause (premium gas) damage if you're using it too much," AAA Director of Automotive Services Bob Kazmierczak said. "Now, if you have a vehicle that's developing a ping or or knocking, that kind of thing, using premium fuel does help because it does help clean up the engine a little bit, but I wouldn't recommend using it all the time." 

Third, if you're getting sucked in by those impulse buys at the convenience store when you go pay, that could really hurt you when it comes to saving money. 

Considering that a soft drink, for example, costs one dollar and drivers fill up the tank once a week, this can cost you an extra $50 dollars a year. 

Finally, if something seems wrong with the pump say something.

"You want to get every cent that you're paying for. When we get a lot of wear and tear on these devices, unfortunately, especially during the summertime, they need a little bit of updating, Lopez said. "They may need to be fine-tuned again, so you can call the office, the auditor's office, our number is on every gas pump, the consumer hot line, and just report anything that you see is fishy or may not add up at the pump." 

The Lucas County Auditor's office is one of the places you can get help by calling 419-213-4406.

Also, don't forget that everyday we inform you about the lowest gas prices in our traffic report and we publish them online as well. Just click here.