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It's said that a cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing'but everyone knows the value of a gas station with low prices. That's why the Energy Department has published links to dozens of local, nongovernment gas price monitoring sites at www.fueleconomy.gov.

On a recent weekday, for example, the site showed regular-grade gas prices in Los Angeles varied from $2.59 per gallon at a car wash in West Los Angeles to $2.21 at a Sam's Club in Palmdale.

For consumers, the DOE site offers information on hybrid gas-electric vehicles that now are among the mileage champs. It also provides links to information about tax breaks for hybrid vehicles.

The Federal Trade Commission, meanwhile, has the lowdown on gas additives and gizmos that claim to increase gas mileage at www.ftc.gov. Its conclusion: none of the tested additives or aftermarket devices can reduce a driver's payments at the pump.

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