This has the earmarks of an expensive summer for motorists.
º The Associated Press reports that benchmark prices for American crude oil have cracked $70 a barrel for the first time since 2014.
º In Illinois, the price of a gallon of gasoline is almost 50 cents a gallon higher than a year ago and more than 15 cents a gallon higher than in April.
At least some of the instability of gas prices is tied to the international political arena where the United States is playing a cat-and-mouse game with Iran over nuclear restrictions. The average consumer has no control over those kind of elements, but some of the things we can do to conserve at the pump include:
º Consider cutting back on speed. Driving 55 mph instead of 75 mph can gain 9 to 15 mpg, depending on the vehicle model.
"Overall, speeding up from 55 mph to 75 is like moving from a compact to a large SUV," the Consumer Reports Autos publication said.
º Gasoline credit cards typically offer a discount, as high as 6 cents a gallon on every purchase, according to lowcards.com.
$3 gas possible
Patrick DeHaan of GasBuddy.com says don't be surprised if at some point this summer the $3-per-gallon mark is eclipsed.
"Motorists should expect the national average to drift around in (at least) the upper $2-per-gallon range for much of the summer," DeHaan said.
He said drivers are prone to overpay "by at least 20 cents per gallon due to factors such as laziness and procrastination."
Shopping around for the best price can add up to big savings.
"Motorists need to get outside of their comfort zone and shop around for the lowest price," DeHaan told MSN.com. "It certainly can save you hundreds of dollars a year."
What others are saying
º Yahoo: "Is NASCAR for sale? According to reports from Reuters and CNBC, NASCAR executives are ‘working with investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to identify a potential deal for the company.' Talks are in the exploratory stage, and a NASCAR spokeswoman did not deny the Reuters report."
º Time magazine: " ‘Avengers: Infinity War' has now grossed more than $1.2 billion and became the first film ever to cross the $1 billion mark in 11 days of release -- and it has yet to even open in China."
º The Economist: "According to the World Bank, high-income countries have on average 17.3 commercial bank branches per 100,000 adults. Japan has 34.1."
The top five
The top five reasons new businesses fail, according to Investopedia:
1. Not investigating the market: "You have to find an underserviced or unmet need within a market and then fill it, rather than break into the familiar field."
2. Business plan problems: "The plan will figure out if there's a need for the new enterprise through research and surveys; it will figure out the costs and inputs needed for the company; and it will outline strategies and timelines that should be implemented and met."
3. Too little financing: "Be realistic at the beginning, and start with enough money that will last you to the point where your business is up and running, and cash is actually flowing in."
4. Bad location, internet presence and marketing: "Location, location, location is everything if your business relies on foot traffic. Just as important, however, is internet location. These days, your web and your social media presence can be just as important as your company's physical presence. People shop, search and research online for everything these days."
5. Rigidity: "Once you've done the planning, established your business and gained a customer base, don't get complacent. ... Monitor the market and know when you may need to alter your business plan."
Words of wisdom
º Bronze medal: "Failure defeats losers; failure inspires winners." -- Robert T. Kiyosaki, founder of the Rich Dad Co., a private financial education firm.
º Silver medal: "A goal is a dream with a deadline." -- Napoleon Hill, American self-help author.
º Gold medal: "Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do." -- Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Inc.