CHICAGO (CBS) — You’ll find gas prices averaging higher than they were a year ago at this time.

In the Chicago area, the AAA says gasoline prices average $4.20 a gallon.

According to Jack Gerard of the American Petroleum Institute, the national average price for gasoline is $3.65 a gallon, which is 55 cents a gallon less than the Chicago area. But, he said you can stretch your fuel dollars by being “sensible in the way you drive.”

He advises people to keep their tires properly inflated, take extra weight out of their vehicles and don’t speed up and slow down quickly.

Petroleum industry promoter Jack Gerard argues gas prices could go *down* if more oil drilling were allowed on federal lands and put into the world marketplace.

He also points to the role taxes play in gas prices. In Illinois, he says, 57 cents of every gallon goes to the government.

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