Use this handy guide to figure out the best (and worst) day to fuel up.

By Dan Nosowitz

Has it ever felt to you like gas prices change almost by the hour? You’re not crazy: the price of gasoline fluctuates often. Sometimes there’s no real way to plan for that, especially if you're off on family vacation and need to fuel up. Gasoline is roughly pegged to the price of gas’s main ingredient, crude oil, and unless you’ve got some big insight into the changing price of oil, you might feel powerless. But there are patterns to the madness.

USA Today published the results of a study from GasBuddy, a startup aimed at finding the cheapest gas at any given moment. And price-hunting has to be done by the moment. Gas stations have the ability to change prices according to the specifics of their market, and like all businesses, try to adjust the prices upward at the times of highest sales. That means you should generally aim for the slowest times at the gas station. So when is that?

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According to the study, Monday is the best day to buy gas in a whopping 29 states, as well as the District of Columbia. That's because Monday tends to be the slowest business day for gas stations, so their prices are at their lowest to attract drivers. The study gets even more granular than that: Monday morning, rather than afternoon, was found to host the cheapest gas.

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So when do you definitely not want to buy gas, if you can avoid it? Well, the weekend might be the best part of your week, but it’s best for gas stations too: Saturday, Sunday, and Friday, in that order, are the most expensive days to buy gas. The weekend finds more people driving longer distances, which of course requires more gas, and the gas stations cash in on all that road tripping.

But there are some weird outliers. Utah bucks the trend and finds its cheapest day on Sunday, with its most expensive day on Tuesday. It’s worth glancing at our handy infographic to make sure your home state plays by the majority’s rules before eagerly hitting the pump early in the week.

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