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Free, easy ways to save big money on gas

With the national average for regular gas now $3.80 a gallon, according to motor club AAA, chances are you're feeling some pain at the pump. Unfortunately,  it could get worse.

The U.S. Energy Department is predicting at least $3.86 for regular gas during the summer driving season - an increase of more than 40 percent over last year.

But there are some things you can do to cut costs - for free - at the pump.

"Early Show" Consumer Correspondent Susan Koeppen said you can start by buying gas early in the morning when the ground temperature is still cold because cold gas equals more gas.

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Koeppen said, "We talked to gas experts who say the time of day you pump your gas does matter. They suggest pumping your gas in the morning, when it's colder outside, the ground is colder, which means the gas is denser, so you're getting more gas. As the day goes on and things start to warm up, the gas will actually expand, so a gallon won't really be a true gallon later in the day."

Koeppen also suggest keeping your car filled up as much as possible.

"If it's at half a tank, fill it up," Koeppen said. "That's because you don't want air in your gas tank. More air in the tank means more evaporation, so keep that tank full if you can."

Another way to save is by slowing down on the roads.

"Cruise, don't speed," Koeppen said. "For every five miles per hour you go over 60 miles per hour, that's like adding 24 cents a gallon. So try to keep the speed down, if you can."

To improve your gas mileage, Koeppen added properly inflated tires can help.

"That can increase your gas mileage about 3.3 percent. So not huge, but it's something - and it's something you can do for free," Koeppen said.

Drivers, Koeppen said, should check their tire pressure once a month.

You can also save by avoiding idling.

"Idling is a huge gas-waster. It actually takes more gas to idle for 10 seconds than it does to turn your car off and turn it back on," Koeppen said. "So if you can, just shut the car down, wait for the person, if someone's in the store if you're waiting for your kids at school, just turn off the car, wait for everybody, turn the car back on and be on your merry way."

If you want to splurge to save on gas, Koeppen recommends a fuel efficiency adviser for $160.

"You put it in the dash of your car, and basically it tells you in real time how much gas you're using," Koeppen said. "We actually put this device to the test with a family in New Jersey, let them drive around for awhile, they said it was amazing, that it actually helped their driving, increased their fuel efficiency and they absolutely loved it. It will tell you if you're going too fast, that you're wasting a lot of gas."

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