Despite some analysts' predictions for a summer with the best gas prices in recent memory, motorists may still face big fuel bills.
The simple reason? It's not called the "summer driving season" for nothing.
"As the weather warms up, more people hit the road," said Michael Green, a spokesman for AAA. That's more vacations, more day trips and excursions, and that classic, the summer road trip. The extra miles can more than counterbalance any savings from lower prices. Over Memorial Day weekend alone, AAA expects 36.1 million people will travel 50 miles or more, a 1.5 percent increase over last year.
Memorial Day gas prices are likely to run about $3.62 per gallon on average nationwide, down from $3.65 last year, said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com. He expects prices to continue falling, with the summer average falling somewhere in the $3.40 to $3.50 range for most of the country.
"It should be, overall the cheapest summer since 2010," DeHaan said.
Watch the video above for smart shopping tricks to get the best price while fueling up, including the right way to pay for gas. Whipping out that gas rewards credit card isn't always your most cost-effective bet—Wal-Mart, Cumberland Farms and other chains all offer breaks for certain payment methods.
For longer trips, sites such as AAA's Fuel Cost Calculator and BeFrugal.com's Fly or Drive Calculator can help you figure out whether it's cheaper to get in the car or hop on a plane, based on your vehicle and the route. BeFrugal.com also factors in considerations like tolls, hotel (if you'd need to break up the trip over several days) and added cab costs to and from the airport if you decide to fly.
—By CNBC's Kelli B. Grant.